Queen’s six-point protocol for royal guests: ‘Some notable breaches’


THE QUEEN’s guests must follow a six-point protocol, which causes Her Majesty much amusement on occasion, royal author Karen Dolby once wrote in a book.

She will host the big festive get-together at the Norfolk residence after assuring her family she is feeling “far better” and “looking forward” to kicking off celebrations, the Mirror’s royal editor Russell Myers reported last week.

When meeting the Queen, a certain protocol must be followed, even for family members.

Although, this is expected to be relaxed behind closed doors, when the family gathers to eat, drink, and make up for last year’s cancelled festivities.

Guests must follow a six-point protocol on all royal occasions, as detailed by royal author Karen Dolby in her book ‘The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II’.

The protocol, Ms Dolby wrote, “must give Her Majesty no little cause for amusement, privately at least”.

The Queen

The Queen’s guests must follow royal protocol. (Image: GETTY/Mary Rose Trus)

The Queen waving.

The Queen will host all the Royal Family at Sandringham this Christmas. (Image: GETTY)

The first point, Ms Dolby said, is that everyone must stand when the Queen enters the room, because she is “never off-duty”.

The rule even applied to Prince Philip, although Ms Dolby noted the Queen probably relaxed the rule when they were alone.

The second rule is that the Queen must first be addressed as “Your Majesty” and afterwards as “Ma’am”.

Ms Dolby explained that pronunciation should rhyme with “ham not harm”, and guests must revert to “Your Majesty” when the Queen leaves the room.

Under the third rule, women must curtsey while men can bow from the shoulders, or nod the neck, both when meeting and saying goodbye to the monarch.

The Queen meeting guests.

Everyone must stand when the Queen enters the room, a rule that even applied to Prince Philip. (Image: GETTY)

Ms Dolby said: “The Queen herself is said to be very relaxed about curtseying, commenting that it is ‘not necessarily right for modern times’.

“The last person she curtseyed to was her father, King George VI.”

The fourth rule has been brushed aside somewhat in recent years, except for a few ceremonial occasions, owing to health and safety measures.

Guests previously had to walk backwards when departing.

For the penultimate rule, when dinner is served, no guest can begin eating before the Queen, nor can they continue once she has finished.

Michelle and Barack Obama with the Queen & Philip.

Michelle Obama admitted the Queen once said royal protocol is ‘rubbish’. (Image: GETTY)

The final rule is that Her Majesty is not supposed to be touched.

Ms Dolby wrote: “If she offers a hand it is polite to take it, but for the briefest of touches rather than a full-on handshake.”

She continued: “Follow these rules and your meeting with the Queen should go without a hitch.

“But even those most trained in such matters can still slip up.

Donald Trump walks in front of the Queen

Donald Trump allegedly broke protocol on five occasions. (Image: GETTY)

“Despite the general understanding that the Queen is not to be touched, there have been some notable breaches of this ‘rule’.”

During a 2018 Q&A session, Michelle Obama recalled the Queen once saying to her that royal protocol is “rubbish”.

And former President Donald Trump reportedly managed to break royal protocol on five separate occasions.

He was allegedly late to Windsor Castle on his first visit to the UK in 2018, and immediately went straight for a handshake.

Having already broken tradition twice in minutes, he then walked in front of the Queen.

On another visit in 2019, he again went for a handshake upon greeting Her Majesty. Melania also shook the monarch’s hand.

Lastly, Trump appeared to touch the Queen’s back as she rose from her seat at Buckingham Palace, during a visit which coincided with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

‘The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II’ was written by Karen Dolby and published by Michael O’Mara in 2015. It is available here.


Diana Legacy Header Logo Image
inbox gif

Get Update News In Your Inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Latest Update News Images Videos of British Royal Family

↑ Grab this Headline Animator