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As the longest-reigning monarch in British royal history, Queen Elizabeth has met thousands of people and connected with many world leaders and diplomats. British royalty has strict rules when meeting the queen, which is intimidating to anyone, including the few people granted the honor of meeting her. If you ever have the opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth, remember these six rules to make a good first impression. 

At 95 years old, Queen Elizabeth has been leading the royals since 1952. She took over the throne following her father’s death and has kept her hardworking attitude and commitment to her royal duties. Throughout her seven-decade reign, she has met with a lot of political figures while staying out of any major drama.

Even today, she maintains routine travel schedules and makes many personal appearances, signifying that she will continue to work as a royal until she is no longer able to do so. The new addition of two corgis earlier this year is also a sign that the queen does not have any intentions of leaving Buckingham Palace anytime soon. 

Queen Elizabeth II wearing aquamarine earrings and necklace to dinner party
Queen Elizabeth II | Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images

You don’t have to follow an obligatory code when greeting royals

While many choose to observe “traditional forms”, such as men performing a gentle dip of the head or women doing a small curtsy, the queen does not expect people to bow to her. If you want to add a handshake to your greeting, be sure to do so only if she offers her hand first. Until the monarch initiates any contact, one must not touch the queen. The secret when meeting the royals is to not overdo it. 

Let the queen speak first

British royalty tradition dictates that the queen speaks first upon each meeting and carries all conversations. You should also first address her as “Your Majesty” before changing to “Ma’am.” Avoid using her first name in any situation. 

Take your cue from the monarch


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Just as you must wait to be spoken to, you should also follow the queen’s cues. CNN reports that even though royal protocols have recently relaxed, a top tip is to do as the queen, “If she walks, you follow; if she sits, you can too; and if dinner’s involved, best wait for her to start before tucking in.”

Don’t be late or leave early without permission

According to the same CNN referenced above, Debrett’s, states “It is correct for everyone to arrive before the royal personage and protocol rules that no guest should leave an event before a member of the Royal Family, except in special circumstances when prior permission should be obtained.” Also, if you must leave before the queen, you should seek permission through a private secretary first.

Only bring a gift if it is appropriate for the occasion

If you decide to bring a gift when meeting the queen, ensure that it is appropriate for the occasion. Even when gifts are given to a specific royal family member, all official gifts are put into the Royal Collection. CNN’s best advice on gifts for the monarch is “if in doubt, leave it out.”

Forego the hug

While the queen may extend her hand for the initial greeting, any contact afterward should be kept to a minimum. Attempting to hug the monarch would be a breach of royal protocol. 

Other notes to remember when meeting Queen Elizabeth is to wear the proper dress for the occasion and avoid wearing anything too casual or too revealing. There are several British Royalty rules to keep in mind when in the monarch’s presence. However, Queen Elizabeth has likely seen it all at some point during her reign. Therefore, she often doesn’t get too offended, even if one commits faux pas.