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Weird Rules For When You Meet Royalty

Updated December 18, 2020 218.3k views14 items

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.

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  • Photo: Mexicaans fotomagazijn / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Don't Rest Your Back On The Chair

    There's a particular way to perch in the presence of British royalty. People are expected to sit with an "egg’s width of distance" between their backs and chairs. They must also keep their chins parallel to the floor. 

    Another rule forbids guests from crossing their legs at the knee. Feet can remain planted on the floor or crossed at the ankle.

  • Photo: Commonwealth Secretariat / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Never Turn Your Back On The Queen

    Whatever you do, never turn your back on the Queen; it's incredibly impolite. She'll likely be meeting a long line of people, so it'll be hard to avoid facing the other way. Be careful just in case, though.

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

    Do What The Queen Does During Dinner Engagements

    When you're at dinner with the Queen, do whatever she does. After sitting at the table, don't touch your food until she touches her food. This goes for the end of the meal as well. When she finishes up, you're done too. When she stands, you stand.

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

    Don't Make Any Extreme Bows

    Don't bow excessively in the presence of royalty. In fact, if you don't feel like bowing, there's no need to do so. Quick, minor bows are appropriate, but they occasionally make royalty feel uncomfortable.