The Royal Wedding Countdown: Etiquette

This week is going to be a busy week of media interviews regarding the Royal Wedding (I’ll be online at Reuters all day giving my opinions on the wedding) so I thought I’d prepare a countdown of useful information for anyone interested in the wedding of Kate & William on the 29th April 2011.

Prince William & Kate Middleton

Prince William & Kate Middleton

To begin with I am going to talk to you about Royal Etiquette, when doing my research for this article I came across one by Sarah Haywood , one of the loveliest wedding planners in the UK. Sarah is a former TV presenter and even now you will frequently see her interviewed regarding all things ‘wedding related’. She is also the author of The Wedding Bible  which I highly recommend to any brides not using a wedding planner.

I have listed a few of her tips below but the full article can be found via her blog .

  •  How to Greet the Queen: greet her as “Your Majesty” and then as “Ma’am” (as in jam).
  • Bow: unless you are a British subject you do not have to bow or curtsy, as the Queen is not your Sovereign.
  • Don’t touch: royal etiquette dictates not touching the Queen or other members of the royal family. You are required to wait for them to extend their hand to you. If they do then a gentle handshake is acceptable: not too hard and no gripping or pulling and definitely no hugs, no kiss on the cheek, no touching and no pats on the back.
  • Conversation: if the Queen or other members of the royal family engage in conversation do not ask them any personal questions – idle chitchat is all that’s required of you.
  • Dress code: do as it says on the invitation: no more – no less. If in the military, uniform is definitely the order of the day otherwise formal morning dress or lounge suit has been requested. Ladies must not reveal too much flesh in church and should wear an appropriate hat and gloves. Ladies keep hats on in the Abbey but you may be offered the option at the Palace of removing it – if not keep it on. But a gentleman always removes his hat before stepping indoors.
  • Eating at the Reception: generally one stops eating when the Queen does. As she is a very polite lady she therefore eats slowly to allow you sufficient time for sustenance. If other royals however keep eating, it is acceptable on this occasion to follow their lead (the newlyweds will want you to enjoy the cake).
  • Tea drinking: this is a British institution and it is likely at some point you will be offered a cup of tea. Raise only the teacup to drink and return the cup to the saucer after each sip. If you add sugar, stir from north-east to south-west (not around and around) without clinking the side of the china with the spoon.
Copyright Kerry Morgan

Copyright Kerry Morgan

  • Dancing: the royals love dancing and are very good at it. You might want to practice or indulge in a dance lesson to avoid embarrassing yourself with any John Travolta/Ricky Gervais style impressions.
  • Depart at the appointed time: it is rude to overstay your welcome. When other guests leave, follow their lead: but never before the Queen and senior royals have departed unless instructed to do so.

 Image copyright Kerry Morgan

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