How do you speak to Queen Elizabeth and other British royals?

Tracey Furniss, South China Morning Post

Posted at May 30 2021 02:43 PM

Fans of The Crown may have picked up some tips on how to talk like a British royal. But if you really want to chat to Queen Elizabeth, Prince William or Kate Middleton, then there is also certain royal etiquette to observe.

So how does one properly address a royal, and how would you attract the queen’s attention? This is what Prince Charles’ ex-butler Grant Harrold had to say on the subject.

The queen is known for her walkabouts when visiting towns and cities throughout the UK. But have you ever wondered how to stand out in the crowd and attract her attention? Harrold once told Business Insider that if you shout “your majesty”, she will probably pretend not to hear you, but if you hold up a picture of a corgi or, even better, bring your own corgi, she is likely to stop by for a chat.

If you are presented to the queen at an official engagement, you need to first address her as “your majesty”, then “ma’am” for subsequent responses, according to official guidelines. Never call her “your royal highness” – that title is reserved for the other senior royals.

Never initiate conversation with a royal – it just is not done! They will initiate the conversation, Harrold told Business Insider, as they have a hectic schedule and need to stay in control of the conversation. However, royals will always make time for children. “I have never seen a member of the royal family ignore a child who calls out to them,” said Harrold.

And if you ask a question a royal does not want to answer, you will never hear “no comment” or “I can’t answer that”. Rather, they will pretend they didn’t hear you or, like Prince Philip often did, make a joke of it, Harrold told Business Insider.

When meeting a member of the royal family at one of their famous garden parties, you do not have to explain who you are to them, as they have already been briefed. It is not a coincidence they are talking to you, as you have been selected for that very reason.

And the biggest no-no, when talking to a royal? Never ask personal questions or discuss sex, religion, politics or money. In royal society, small talk is usually about the weather and travel.


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