June 4, 2012 / 8:13 PM / 7 years ago

Modern Etiquette: Getting it right with royalty on jubilee

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is gripped by Jubilee fever. Across the country, bunting is strung up, picnics and street parties are happening as this weekend sees the official weekend for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Royal fan William Wallace waits on The Mall for the start of the Diamond Jubilee concert for Britain's Queen Elizabeth in London June 4, 2012 . REUTERS/Ki Price

An additional bank holiday has been issued to mark the occasion, allowing festivities to span four days.

There is a host of official events to enjoy, including a spectacular pageant of over 1,000 boats travelling up the river Thames, the lighting of 2,012 beacons across the UK and Commonwealth and a star-studded concert right outside Buckingham Palace.

The weekend culminates with a carriage procession through London and, of course, the obligatory appearance on Buckingham Palace’s iconic balcony.

For The Queen, 2012 has been a busy year as she and the Duke of Edinburgh have travelled all over the UK to celebrate her 60 years on the throne.

Other members of the Royal Family have also travelled across the country and the Commonwealth, representing the Monarch, to mark the momentous occasion of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

For the lucky few who get the chance to meet The Queen and other members of the Royal Family, there is plenty of protocol and etiquette that should be strictly observed:

Meeting The Queen

Upon being introduced to The Queen, and on leaving, a bow or curtsy is made. The bow is an inclination of the head, not from the waist. The curtsy should be a discreet but dignified bob, with one’s weight on the front foot.

In conversation, address The Queen as “Your Majesty”, and subsequently “Ma’am” (to rhyme with jam). When conversing with The Queen, substitute ‘Your Majesty’ for ‘you’.

When introducing another person to The Queen, simply state the name of the person to be introduced: ‘May I present Mr John Smith, Your Majesty?’

Meeting Other Royals

On introduction and on leaving other members of the British Royal Family, a bow or curtsy is made. Men should bow from the head only, and women should make a small curtsy. Neither movement should be prolonged or exaggerated. It is worth noting that it is acceptable, but less usual, to shake hands.

Anyone bearing the style and title of His or Her Royal Highness should be addressed as ‘Your Royal Highness’ for the first time, and subsequently ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’ (to rhyme with jam).

Younger members of the Royal Family may not expect or want the deference paid to earlier generations. If you are expecting to be introduced to Prince Harry, or Princesses Eugenie, for example, it might be helpful to speak to their private secretary or equerry for guidance.

While some of the rules may have been relaxed, it is worth saying that the member of the Royal Family should, throughout the meeting, feel like they are in the driving seat. Good manners and common sense are essential.

Social Events

When The Queen attends a function (official or private) the host always surrenders his place to Her Majesty, he himself being seated on The Queen’s right.

The husband of a lady member of the Royal Family is accorded precedence immediately after her when both attend a function. Other members of the Royal Family are given special precedence before all non-royal guests.

The preamble for a speech in the presence of The Queen would begin “May it please Your Majesty”.

The first and principal Loyal Toast, as approved by The Queen, is “The Queen”. It is incorrect to use such forms as “I give you the Loyal Toast of Her Majesty The Queen”.

The second Loyal Toast, which, if given, immediately follows the first, is “The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, and the other members of the Royal Family”.

It used to be the rule that no guest should leave a function before a member of the Royal Family, except in special circumstances when prior permission should be obtained.

However, when balls and dinners may continue into the small hours, it is probably practical for the organizer of the function to warn the private secretary that this rule may not be practical.

Jo Bryant is an etiquette advisor and editor at Debrett’s, the UK authority on etiquette and modern manners (www.debretts.com). Any opinions expressed are her own. Debrett’s has a publishing heritage dating back over two centuries with a contemporary range of publications including “A-Z of Modern Manners”, “Etiquette for Girls” and “Guide for the Modern Gentleman”.

Editing by Paul Casciato

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