Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Meeting Royalty and Nobility

Some people may wonder, what should I do if I meet a member of the royal family? Unless you’re in England, it’s unlikely to happen, but what if? You really don't want to resort to "Hi there" or "Do I know you?" Of course you could say absolutely nothing, a polite handshake and then afterwards wonder who you've just met. But why not be prepared? These instructions are so easy you can even write them on your hand. Just make sure your palms aren't sweaty otherwise you'll get ink all over the Queen's glove.

In comparison to meeting nobility it's far more straightforward than you may think. Note that when you meet royalty, it is optional to bow or curtsey, although some traditionalists still hold to this form of deference. When in doubt, err on the side of formality.

For future reference, I’ve included ways to address them all so that you need not worry about making a faux pas:

The Queen: Your Majesty and thereafter: Ma’am (rhymes with lamb)

The Duke of Edinburgh: Your Royal Highness, and thereafter: Sir

The Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex: Your Royal Highness, and thereafter: Sir

Prince William and Prince Harry: Your Royal Highness, and thereafter: Sir

The Princess Royal: Your Royal Highness, and thereafter: Ma'am

Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Princess Michael, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Kent, the Duchess of Gloucester: Your Royal Highness, and thereafter: Ma’am

Fairly straightforward, wouldn’t you agree?

Now, onto nobility. Here it becomes a bit more complicated. A veritable mine-field of potential offence. After all, what exactly are you supposed to do? Royalty is fairly recognizable, and you may know Earl Spencer (Diana, Princess of Wales' brother) but would you be able to pick out the Duke of Wesminster in a crowd? Once again, when in doubt, err on the side of caution. Especially if no one is wearing a name tag.

There are five forms of Peerage: Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron.

Duke: Your/His Grace

Marquess: My Lord

Earl: My Lord

Viscount: My Lord

Baron: My Lord

There you go! Now, when meeting royalty and nobility, you no longer have to worry about any embarrassing situations.

However, if you happen to run into them, tell Lilibet and Phil I said 'Hi!'

© Marilyn Braun 2006


Anne C. Watkins said...

Another interesting article! And now I know what to do if I ever meet a royal being. :)

Othmar Vohringer said...

That brings memories back from a time when I was introduced to her Royal Majesty Queen Juliana of Holland and many years later to her Royal Majesty Elizabeth II Queen of England, Scottland and Wales.
Before the audience a palaca official instructed us on how to behave in the presence of the Soverein.
You are right the rules are simple and yet, it was Ronald Regan and later George W. Bush who could not remember these simple rules. Regan gave the Queen a hug on the White House lawn and Bush tried to hug her too but stopped short of doing it (Iguess Barbera Bush kicked him). Bush also patted the hand of his Holyness Pope John Paul II like he would be schoolboy, while holding with the other hand the Popes hand firmly and shaking it (A big No). With that little act these two world leaders not only embarrassed the world but also insulted the noble guests/hosts.

Othmar Vohringer aka huntwriter

Anne C. Watkins said...

What was the occasion, Othmar? How exciting that must have been, to meet royalty!

Othmar Vohringer said...

I have been a animal behaviourist for more than 30+ years. Animal behaviourist is a fancy word for someone who studies animal behaviour and how they relate to other animals and the environment they live in. This knowledge is then applied in animal training and in the creation of park and zoo animal exhibits to privde the animals with better stimuli (Prevent boredom) and to train animals using their behavioural patterns rather than force.
My specialty are tigers, elephants, rhinos, giraffes and horses in that order.
Over the years I have climbed to the very top of my profession. That is how it came that I met with royals, presidents, politicans and other celebrities.
I am retired since 2001 from this profession and did so at the very hight of my career when I got invited as the first western animal behaviourist to the Peoples Rpublic of China. That crowning seemed to be a fitting occasion to retire as it couldn't get possibly any better.