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Weird Rules For When You Meet Royalty

Updated December 18, 2020 218.8k views14 items
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People who meet British royalty have to follow a lot of weird rules. Queen Elizabeth and her family expect the people around them to adhere to strict guidelines - after all, they have to follow certain regulations themselves. If you're wondering what to do when meeting a royal, don't worry. The event might seem daunting, but most people pick up on the expectations quickly. As long as you err on the side of caution, you'll probably be fine.

  • Photo: Mikepaws / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Don't Touch The Queen Unless She Asks

    Don't get handsy when you meet the Queen or any other royal. If she reaches out for a handshake, you may accept, but don't go overboard.

    Some Americans don't realize touching royalty is a major faux pas. Lebron James incurred the wrath of the British press in 2014 when he put his arm around the Duchess of Cambridge during a photo op. Etiquette expert William Hanson notes, "Americans are much more tactile than we Brits and this is another example of an American being too touchy feely with British royalty. You’d have thought they’d have learned by now."

  • Photo: babasteve / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Don't Arrive After The Royals

    If you're invited to dinner with the royals, arrive at your destination before the Queen. Additionally, expect to hang out until the Queen says it's time to go. Don't make any other plans on the same day; the royal engagement might run later than anticipated. 

  • Photo: BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Don't Stand In A Straight Line

    When the Queen is present, guests must stand in a semicircle around her. No lines are allowed in front of her. This makes the gathering seem more intimate and easier to photograph.

  • Photo: chego-chego / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Wait For The Royal To Speak To You

    Stay calm until the royals acknowledge you. The same thing goes for handshakes. Don't extend your hand; let them make the offer. You may think you're being rude by not saying "hello" first, but that's not the case.