What to Do (and Not Do) If You Meet a Royal

Should you ever happen to meet up with a royal, here’s how to handle yourself with the utmost of elegance and decorum.

For better or for worse, there are no “obligatory codes”

Easter Sunday service, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, UK - 01 Apr 2018Paul Grover/Shutterstock

It would probably be a lot easier if there were a specific set of rules to follow when meeting Her Majesty The Queen or any other member of the royal family. However, the royal family website points out, “there are no obligatory codes of behavior,” and our expert on the royal family, Carolyn Harris, Ph.D , who is also a historian, author, and royal commentator, confirms that’s the case. However, even though there are no “obligatory” codes of behavior for when meeting a member of the royal family, “many people wish to observe the traditional forms,” the royal family’s website observes. Read on to find out what those are.

 

Proper presentation

State Visit of the King and Queen of the Netherlands, London, UK - 23 Oct 2018Robin Utrecht/Shutterstock

Introductions to all members of the royal family are known as “presentations,” explains Debrett’s, a professional coaching company and noted experts on royal etiquette and the peerage system. But if you are ever in a position to meet The Queen, you will be properly introduced as follows: “Your Majesty, may I present [your full name].” Your full name includes your title. For members of the peerage, that would be “Duke” or “Duchess” or “Earl” or “Baroness,” etc. For commoners, it’s Mr., Mrs., or Miss (the title “Ms.” does not come into play for this purpose). Here’s the difference between a duke and a prince.

ADDRESSING THE ROYAL FAMILY

Upon being presented to the Queen

CHOGM Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Malta - 28 Nov 2015Shutterstock

When you first address the Queen after being presented to her, traditional form is to call her, “Your Majesty.” For example, “I’m pleased to meet you, Your Majesty.” Don’t miss these 11 interesting tidbits about Queen Elizabeth II.

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