Naturally, protocol for meeting Elizabeth II and Prince Philip is formal; but is not as elaborate nor complicated as the public often supposes.
Manners Fit For A Queen
LONDON (UPl)—When Queen Elizabeth II is presented with a bouquet of flowers, she prefers them to be light scented. A heavy perfume will set her sneezing. When traveling abroad, she is happy if her host refrains from putting caviar on the menu because she does not like it. When conversing with a stranger, she does not mind if asked a direct question so long as the subject is not of an overly personal nature. These snippets of information are culled from a brochure which Buckingham Palace sends out to the British embassies concerned when the Queen goes abroad. The information is intended to be passed on tactfully to the several thousand people who are presented to the queen on such a visit or who entertain her. Protocol naturally is formal; but is not as elaborate nor complicated as the public often supposes.
On introduction to the Queen and Philip, their hands not are actually shaken but the fingers simply touched in token of greeting or the Royal couple would have sprained wrists from greeting so many. Gentlemen are expected to give a normal bow as they take the Royal hand. Ladies give what is knowm at Court as “a short curtsy” — a little dip made by placing the left foot just behind the right and inclining the head. The old style, floor-touching curtsy was abolished, because it takes too long for the lady to go down and rise again. The deep dip slowed the receiving line.
The Queen wears gloves, usually white ones, on outdoor: occasions and with evening dress. She prefers other women do the same because so much hand-shaking is involved, but would never refuse to meet a woman whose hands were bare. Most men like to wear gloves for the same reason. Elizabeth always takes a wardrobe of new clothes with her to compliment her hosts. Guests do not have to follow suit by buying a new outfit, but they should be dressed fittingly. Very low-cut dresses always are considered inappropriate.
Bouquets of flowers should not be heavily scented because the perfume increases in a hot room or bright sunshine. The Queen likes locally grown flowers best and is interested in being told what they are and how they are grown. If the bouquet can be given to her by a child, so much the better because the Queen, a mother of four, likes to see children everywhere she can. She is never disturbed if a child suddenly turns shy at the crucial moment. She has long experience in putting them at their ease. Conversation with the Queen and Philip is an easy, natural thing. Both are skilled in leading it. Etiquette allows them to be asked direct questions so long as they are not too personal.
Would-be hosts are told that the Queen’s tastes are simple. Neither she, nor the Prince, likes soups, oysters, other shellfish or caviar. The Queen is fond of china tea while Prince Philip drinks coffee whenever he can. Both are fond of fresh fruits and enjoy chicken dishes.
They like to sample the local specialities. Prince Philip, who takes great interest in cooking and does a little himself at home, often asks for the recipe of an unfamiliar dish he has enioyed. The Royal couple do not smoke. They drink wine and champagne at formal meals and the Prince takes an occasional glass of light beer with his lunch. — The Desert Sun, 1969
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia@ Etiquette Encyclopedia