7 July 2013

The Queen

I've met Prince Charles, and seen the Queen and Princess Anne at various times, but have just read what (not) to do when you meet the Queen (just so's I'm ready for that call to the Palace! ha ha):

  1. Don't forget to tell your family and friends
  2. Choose your outfit in good time. Have a couple of outfits planned, depending on the weather.  If you're being awarded an MBE/OBE wear something which you won't mind her sticking a pin into!
  3. Don't chew chewing gum, if you do they'll ask you to remove it (and where will you put it?).
  4. Don't wear shoes you can't walk in, and certainly not very high heels.  The Queen is quite short (though not as short as me!)
  5. Don't misjudge your headgear.  The Queen won't be wearing a crown, so best not to wear a tiara.
  6. Practice your curtsy, again and again.
  7. Think about what you're going to say to the Queen, otherwise you're likely to be tongue-tied when she does ask you a question. And remember that HM always speaks first.
  8. Don't forget to smile when you're introduced.
  9. Don't steal anything, however big the temptation.
  10. Don't let the above items spoil your big day.

Five memorable gaffes:
  • In 1992, the Australian prime minister Paul Keating put his arm around the Queen's waist; he was dubbed the 'Lizard of Oz' by the tabloids.
  • On the 2007 r9oyal visit to the US, President Bush declared that the Queen had first toured the US in 1776 (which would have madeher more than 200 years old).  He compounded the error by winking at her.
  • During the same visit, the actor Mickey Rooney ignored the Palace's 'no-contact' rule by taking the Queen's hand and kissing it.
  • Perhaps the most surprising blounder during a royal visit took place under Gerald Ford's administration in 1976.  As part of the US bicentennial celebrations, the house band started playing The Lady is a Tramp while the Queen and President Ford shared a dance.
  • A remarkable reworking of the rules, which the Palace later described as a 'mutual and spontaneous display of affection and appreciation' when Michelle Obama paid an official visit to the UK in 2009, the Queen astonished onlookers by putting a hand around Michelle's waist on greeting her, a gesture the First Lady reciprocated.  Not a gaffe, but the first law of etiquette: let the Queen make the first move.
From left: Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the Queen.

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