17 Rules That Even Major Stars Have to Follow When Meeting the Queen
What are the chances you will meet the British Queen or some other member of the royal family? Don’t say that it’s absolutely impossible, because there was a time when Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, and even Beyoncé couldn’t imagine they would get to meet this monarch. So, if there’s still a chance, you should totally be prepared for it.
Bright Side has collected 17 important and interesting rules of the royal protocol that everyone who wants to meet the Windsors should know.
1. Don’t mess with security.
Most rules of the protocol are about safety. And because the security of the royal family has to do a lot of work, it’s better if you refrain from inappropriate jokes when you are near the security members. It’s better to avoid doing things like actor Kunal Nayyar did.
2. Arrive early just in case.
According to the rules, the Queen should be the last person to arrive at an event. For example, the head of the British Monarchy came to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just 5 minutes before the bride.
3. Never touch a royal family member.
No matter how friendly your conversation is, it’s a serious protocol violation to touch a royal family member. Jennifer Lopez probably forgot about this when she met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
4. If you’re in doubt, shake hands.
The website for the royal family says that there are no strict rules on how to greet a monarch. You can nod your head (if you are a man) or curtsy (if you are a woman). If you are not from Great Britain, you can shake hands. If you are a celebrity and you’ve met the Windsor family member many times, there is a chance you will hug or even kiss each other on the cheek. But this can only be initiated by the royal family member themselves.
5. Remain silent until you are spoken to.
According to the protocol, you should not start a conversation with a member of the royal family until you shake hands with them. Usually, the monarch says hello first. On a talk show, actor Billy Eichner said that one day before he met Prince Henry and Meghan Markle, he received a letter with all the rules in great detail.
6. Maintain eye contact during a conversation.
The members of the royal family usually maintain eye contact with people during a conversation. This is why you should do the same, as a sign of respect. Many people from the media talked about this rule after the editor of American Vogue, Anna Wintour, was seen talking to Elizabeth II without taking off her sunglasses. Many people thought it was disrespectful of her. But, judging by the photo, they had a nice conversation. Her Majesty was even smiling.
7. Never address a member of the royal family by their name.
On presentation to the Queen, the correct formal address is “Your Majesty” and for other members of the family, you use “Your Royal Highness”. After that, you can use the less formal “Ma’am” and “Sir.”
8. Nicknames are prohibited.
You’ve probably heard that the members of the royal family have nicknames for each other. But no matter how famous you are, you can’t use this kind of address for the Queen or anyone else in the family. Beyoncé made a splash when she said, “My princess,” to Meghan Markle at the premiere of The Lion King. Or just remember the time when Allison Janney addressed Kate Middleton as “honey” at the afterparty event for the BAFTA Awards.
9. You don’t have to curtsy.
This is not necessary unless you are meeting the Queen herself. In this case, curtsying is probably the best way to greet the Queen if you are a lady. Even other members of the royal family have to curtsy to greet Her Majesty. Remember how great Angelina Jolie did this when Elizabeth II made her Dame Commander? Follow her example.
10. Your “+1” should be behind you.
Very often, royal family members have incredibly tight schedules so they might not have enough time to greet everyone in the room personally. If you are taking someone with you to a royal event, they should be standing behind you. And they can talk to the royal family members only if they talk to them first.
11. Some words and phrases should be avoided.
In the royal family, they avoid some words. For example, they always call the toilet, the “lavatory.” This is not a strict rule, but if you want to make a good impression, it’s better to follow it.
12. Always stand if the Queen is standing.
If you are ever in the same room as the Queen, follow her example: when she stands up, you should stand up too. If you ever have dinner with Her Majesty, once she finishes her meal, you and other people at the table, are not recommended to touch your food.
13. Never turn your back on the Queen.
The etiquette rules prohibit people from turning their backs on the Queen and other members of the royal family. This is a big protocol violation. Actress Emilia Clarke said that she had been warned about this before she met Prince William.
14. Never leave an event before the Queen does.
You can’t just show up at an event, see the Queen, and leave. You have to stay there until the Queen decides to leave, at which time you are free to go.
15. Don’t ask for a selfie or an autograph.
Safety rules prohibit the royal family members from taking selfies with their fans (even if they are really famous people). They also can’t give autographs either. They can’t sign anything except official documents and they will probably tell you that they can’t sign something if you ask them to. This rule exists to avoid any kind of scandal or fraud.
There was a case when Prince Charles broke this rule: he was visiting Cornwall after the flood and one woman asked him for an autograph. He wrote, “Charles 2010.”
16. Modesty and taste are of the utmost importance.
There is no dress code for meeting the Queen, but there is a rule — the look should be conservative. Marilyn Monroe probably never received this information when she met the Queen in 1956. Besides, the dress code is also true for journalists. So, don’t wear bright colors because the royal family members usually choose them for themselves to be easily visible.
Also, try to avoid naked legs. All women in the family are supposed to wear tights in public because the protocol calls for it. Famous people and anyone else should follow this rule too, even though it’s not an absolute must.
17. Don’t decline an invitation from the Queen (unless you have a very good reason).
Above: The Queen with Hellen Mirren. Below: Elizabeth II.
If you can’t accept an invitation from a member of the royal family for a very good reason, it’s okay. But be careful because it may be seen as disrespectful. When actress Hellen Mirren refused to come to visit the Queen because she was working on a film, this caused a scandal with the media.
Would you like to meet the head of the British royal family? What questions would you ask Her Majesty?