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Meeting Royalty: The Dos and Don’ts

It’s said to be the dream of many to have tea with The Queen, but the rules around meeting Her Majesty can seem daunting at first. Here are 4 easy to remember guidelines for meeting any Royal:

1) Know their style. And no, I’m not talking about their fashion sense. I mean how they are to be addressed. For Kings and Queens, the correct form of address is “Your Majesty.” For members of the British Royal Family, such as The Prince of Wales, The Earl of Wessex or Princess Beatrice of York, the style is “Your Royal Highness.” Things start to get more complicated when we start talking about other foreign Royals.  In Denmark, for example, the cousins of the sovereign are styled simply as “Your Highness.” In Monaco, the sovereign Prince and Princess, along with the other members of the Princely Family are styled are “Your Serene Highness.” Because Japan has an Imperial Family as opposed to a Royal Family, the Emperor and Empress bear the style “Your Imperial Majesty” while the rest of the Imperial Family bear the style of “Your Imperial Highness.” Later in the conversation after using the original address of the Royal’s style you should then use  “Sir” and “Ma’am” (to rhyme with jam and not farm) as appropriate.

2) Bow or curtsey. While bowing or curtseying is not technically required, it is a seen as a sign of respect rather than simply shaking hands as if meeting any other person. For men, bowing consists of bending the head from the neck. For ladies, right leg behind the left, keeping the knees together and bending the legs maintaing a straight back.  Even when meeting lesser known members of the Royal Family, such as the The Duke of Gloucester or Princess Alexandra of Kent, it is still highly recommended to conform to tradition. If you are not going to be lucky enough to shake hands with the Royal, bowing or curtseying as they pass in front of you is encouraged.

3) Wait for the Royal to extend his or her hand first. They call the shots!

4) Do not ask personal questions. Let the Royal start and direct the conversation. Feel free to inquire as to the well-being of various family members. but remember to ask ‘How is the Queen?’ rather than ‘How is your mother?’ for example. 

And there you have it! 4 tips for making the most out of your brush with royalty.



  • Rich Carter

    Great post. Point four is very important. Somebody once asked Princess Margaret ‘how is your mother?’. Her Royal Highness frostily replied ‘You mean Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother!’

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