What To Do When You Meet The Queen

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

When greeting The Queen it is polite for men to bow and women to curtsey.  Unlike at the end of a stage show, men should bow from the neck, not the waist.  A woman’s curtsey should not be an elaborate sweep to the floor, but simply a bob of the knees with one foot behind the other.  If you go down too far, you may never get back up.

David Cameron demonstrates the correct way to bow

David Cameron demonstrates the correct way to bow

Although it has been reported that Her Majesty is not phased by the lack of a bow or curtsey, it can appear churlish to not. Former British Prime Minister’s wife Cherie Blair famously did not curtsey on one of her first meetings with The Queen, and Australian premier Julia Gillard did the same to much outcry during Her Majesty’s official visit to Australia in November 2011.

HRH Duchess of Cambridge curtseys perfectly to The Queen

HRH Duchess of Cambridge curtseys perfectly to The Queen

If you are not a British or Commonwealth citizen, you are not expected to bow or curtsey, although many do out of respect.  The Queen is referred to as ‘Your Majesty’ first and then ‘Ma’am’.  (Ma’am is short for madam and is to rhyme with ham, not palm.)

The First Lady, Michelle Obama, does not need to curtsey to The Queen

The First Lady, Michelle Obama, does not need to curtsey to The Queen

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