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Ever wondered what you should do when meeting a member of the British Royal Family? The monarchy’s official website says that there aren’t any “obligatory codes of behaviour (sic) when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”

So to help you out, here’s a guide that Michelle Obama and LeBron James wish they’d been given on to how to properly greet a royal:

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How to act when meeting royalty


According to the monarchy’s official website, men are expected to do a neck bow (from head only), while women should give a small curtsy. However, it seems that these rules may only apply if you’re British.

“As an American, when you’re actually meeting the queen, you don’t have to do a curtsy or a bow, because she’s not the head of the state of America,” said Paul Gauger, the director of regional press for VisitBritain.

The monarchy’s site indicates that “other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way,” but Elegant Woman, which is dedicated to providing “timeless grace and poise for the everyday woman,” recommends waiting for the royal to offer a hand first.

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What to say

What should you say to a royal? Official etiquette requires you to refer to the Queen as “Your Majesty” and subsequently “ma’am.” In the case of other members of the royal family, you should call  them “Your Highness” and subsequently “ma’am” or “sir.”

Prince William, however, is more laid back, stating, “I am and always will be an HRH (His Royal Highness). But out of personal choice, I like to be called William, because that is my name, and I want people to call me William — for now.”

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