How to greet the Queen of England
Greeting the Queen isn’t something you do every day, although there may arise the opportunity of being invited to a function at Buckingham Palace, or simply being in the right place at the right time. Whatever the occasion, you will want to make an impression which doesn’t make you look foolish. This guide is written to help you through any event where your life comes into contact of that of Her Majesty. Since the death of Diana, much of the protocol has been changed, although certain courtesies exist which should be remembered. It is a heavy responsibility being a Queen and naturally the privileges which come with the role allow protocol to be something one expects others to adhere to.
Upon meeting the Queen.
The usual address for the Queen is "Your Majesty", although this isn’t to be overdone. This is the initial response or end to a greeting introduction. Thereafter, it is normal to use "Ma’am", which politely translates to Madam.
Meeting the Queen by chance during an event.
If the Queen decides to do a walk-about, she may approach where you are standing. If she looks towards you, you certainly can smile back, and if she holds her hand out to shake yours, then politely shake hands. Talk with her if the conversation follows the natural course of events and remember others want to talk as well, so don’t hog the limelight. Again, "Your Majesty" is the correct way to address her.
Official meeting an a Royal Visit.
At a Royal Visit, you can be sure that you will indeed be primed for the event. Your dress code should be respectable and suited to the event, and if you are a participating member who will meet the Queen, the normal manner to address her is quite similar, in that you use "Your Majesty", although this is accompanied by a gentle bow from a man and a small curtsy from a lady.
At a Buckingham Palace garden party.
Garden parties are fairly informal. Those present will usually dress to suit the occasion, and when the Queen passes, it is polite for ladies to curtsy and for men to take their hats off and bow, acknowledging her presence.
At formal invitations to the Palace.
The protocol is strict. The same greetings are made, though visitors are walked through the protocol before their meeting with the Queen. One aspect is that visitors should never turn their back on the Queen and should wait until she has left before leaving. Taking a seat with the Queen is upon her request and should never be taken as a given.