We were honoured to be in the presence of royalty when we attended an event by HRH Princess Alexandra!
Also known as the Honorable Lady Ogilvy, HRH is the Queen’s cousin and gets involved with many royal duties, which we were delighted to have assisted with this week. As patron of the Children & Families (CFAB) Across Borders charity, Princess Alexandra attended the opening of the organisation’s annual Spring fair at Kensington Town Hall, and we provided chrome crowd management barriers that were used when she entered and left the building.
A Royal Welcome
On her arrival, HRH was greeted by the Mayor and representatives from the council and charity too. We could see that is was a very well-organised occasion - one requiring all the right etiquette for a royal visitor. This inspired us to look at some of the customs regarding greeting members of the monarchy both past and present, and here are some of our favourites…
1. Take a bow…
Believe it or not, it’s not absolutely imperative that ladies curtsey when they’re meeting the royals. According to the official British Monarchy website, men can bow their heads, women may curtsey, while other might just shake hands. This more informal introduction hasn’t always been the case, in Tudor times those greeting the monarchy were required to remain in a low bow or a curtsey position until the royal had walked past them, which could take a long time in some circumstances. If you were to be the first to leave then three quick curtseys or bows were expected while walking backwards.
2. Come in for a big one?
In British culture it’s not generally the norm to hug strangers, or throw an arm around someone we’ve never met before, nevermind members of the monarchy. This has actually happened in the recent past, and it goes to show how unexpected these occasions were by the news stories that resulted from them. For example, when US First Lady Michelle Obama met the Queen, the pair embraced for photos, while NBA player LeBron James put a relaxed arm around Duchess of Cambridge Kate when he met her.
A cuddle calamity...
These both sparked different kinds of sentiments, but palace spokesmen have said that there is no ban on getting tactile with members of the royal family, but maybe leave the bear hugs to your nearest and dearest!
3. Come Dine With Me!
We all know there are customs involved in dining, which may involve what cutlery is required, and how to sit properly - such as keeping those elbows of the table. It makes perfect sense that there is a more specific etiquette when it comes to eating a meal alongside the monarchy. There is a simple technique people do in the present day, which is to follow what your royal host does - sounds easy doesn’t it, well it wasn’t always that way.
Pounded by plums?
In Queen Victoria’s time for example, guests were provided with their food after HRH had been served, and as she was apparently a quick eater, some fellow diners never even got to eat a mouthful! If you were dining with Henry VIII then you’d better watch out for thrown fruit, which he reportedly aimed at guests if he was finding them tiresome.