Meeting the queen — or, any member of the royal family, for that matter — is a once in a lifetime opportunity. That said, there are certain things one must say or do in order to stay in line with the royal family’s strict etiquette rules.
Curious to know what’s not on the list? We share the things no one can say or do in front of the queen of England and her royal family members, ahead.
1. Take a seat
One thing someone should never do in front of the queen of England is take a seat. If they don’t stand when the queen enters the room, it’s considered extremely disrespectful.
2. Call her Queen Elizabeth
Another big no-no? Referring to the queen as Queen Elizabeth. While it is part of her official title, when meeting the queen for the first time, one should always refer to her as ‘your majesty.’
3. Lead the conversation
When speaking with the queen or any other member of the royal family, one must only speak when spoken to and never lead the conversation. The royal should always have full control over any conversation they’re having.
4. Turn around
In addition to taking a seat, turning one’s back to the queen is also considered extremely rude and disrespectful.
5. Shake her hand
When greeting the queen, one should always bow or curtsy. That said, the queen also shakes hands — so long as she’s the one offering.
6. Ask to use the toilet
One thing you’ll never hear a member of the royal family say? Toilet. They consider the French word for restroom, bathroom, or loo to be rude.
7. Touch her
When it comes to the royal family, hugging Kate Middleton, or putting an arm around the queen for a photo opp is off-limits. With the exception of shaking hands, non-royals aren’t allowed to touch royals.
8. Ask what perfume she’s wearing
For those who are so lucky to meet and have a conversation about the queen, pay mind to the words that offend her. And, strangely enough, perfume is one of them. If you must know what she’s wearing, ask her about her ‘scent,’ not her ‘perfume.’
9. Show up empty handed
When visiting with the queen, gifts are expected and should house a sentimental purpose that is appropriate for her visit. For example, if the queen is visiting someone’s hometown, she expects to be gifted items that symbolize the town or have a cultural meaning.
10. Use a nickname
Another no-no? Nicknames. Publicly, the royal family never uses them (though, rumor has it they have broken this rule at home) and neither should someone when having a conversation with the queen or any other member of the royal family.
11. Take a selfie
As far as photo ops are concerned, selfies are off-limits. Fortunately, if you’re so lucky to be at an event with the queen or any other member of the royal family, a professional photographer is usually close by.
12. Walk too slowly or ahead of her
For those walking with the queen — i.e. her family members or staff — they must always walk at the perfect pace. That way, she’s not walking alone and can be introduced by her staff when needed.
13. Slurp tea
The royal family has specific manners for drinking tea, and slurping is not one of them. For those lucky enough to have tea with the queen, they must drink their tea according to royal family etiquette: Lift the cup, sip, and place the cup back on the saucer after each sip.
14. Continue to eat after she’s finished her meal
When it comes to dinner with the royal family, there are rules. And one of the most important ones is when to stop eating. As soon as the queen has finished her last bite, it is expected that others stop eating, too.
15. Say ‘pardon’
While bumping into the queen would be mortifying, one should never say ‘pardon’ for it. Like other French words, the British royal family considers it to be rude. Instead, simply say, ‘sorry.’
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