Greeting a member of the Royal Family requires a special type of etiquette and protocol. Though it may be unlikely that the average American will ever meet a member of the Royal Family, having the knowledge of proper behavior can help in any chance situations or encounters.
According to the Official Website of the British Monarchy, “there are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family.” However, the site acknowledges that some people may wish to observe the traditional forms of Royal protocol and etiquette.
Royal etiquette and protocol is fairly simple, but to follow traditional observances and behaviors, it is important to know the different greetings for different family members and when to use each.
Royal Protocol and Etiquette: Greeting a Member of the British Royal Family
When meeting the Queen, it is customary to for a man to bow his head or for a woman to curtsy – but only the British are required to do so. Americans, for example, are not governed by the queen or by the Royal Family and thus not required to curtsy or bow, though many do as a sign of respect.
When meeting the Queen or another member of the Royal Family, a person should not offer his or her hand to shake until after the Royal Family member has extended his or her hand. When meeting the Royal Family do not touch or invade upon the family member’s space without a clear invitation. Hugs, kisses on the cheek and other contact is off limits.
How to Formally Address a Member of the British Royal Family
Addressing a member of the British Royal Family quite simple. Addressing the queen is different from addressing other Family members, but none of the rules are difficult. Follow these simple rules:
When speaking to the queen, refer to her as “Your Majesty” on first reference. On second and all following references, refer to the queen as “Ma’am.”
When speaking to a male member of the Royal Family, refer to him as “Your Royal Highness” on first reference and “sir” on all following references.
The same rules should be followed when addressing a female member of the Royal Family. On first reference, refer to her as “Your Royal Highness” and as “Ma’am” on all following references.
The different rules of Royal protocol and etiquette can be a bit intimidating, but the rules certainly do not have to be difficult. Following these simple actions can make any royal encounter pleasant and enjoyable.
Other articles about the Royal Family by this author:
Kate Middleton’s Fashion Style: Will It Change With Marriage to Prince William?
Like Prince William and Kate Middleton, Queen Elizabeth Also Married During Tough Economic Time
Prince William and Kate Middleton Release Official Engagement Photos Taken by Mario Testino
Protesters Attack Prince Charles and Camilla: Why Wasn’t Royal Couple Better Protected?
Greeting a Member of the Royal Family. The Official Website of the British Monarchy. Accessed Jan. 12, 2011.
Royal Etiquette: How to Greet the Queen. Elegantwoman.org. Accessed Jan. 12, 2011.