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
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