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Queen - Customary Behavior When Greeting

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

We will be visiting England next summer and touring Buckingham Palace. Should we happen to encounter the Queen of England, what should we do as far as greeting her? I heard that we were not supposed to speak unless spoken to, and that women curtsy and men bow. We are Americans, so do we need to follow this custom?


Courtesy customs

Dear Courtesy customs,

According to the royal website, there is no obligatory code of behavior when meeting The Queen. Simply shaking hands is fine. However, if you wish to be traditional, then a small curtsy by you and a neck bow from the head only from your husband is acceptable as well.

When addressing The Queen, first call her 'Your Majesty' and later, Ma'am. For other members of the royal family, the address is Your Royal Highness, followed by Ma'am for females and Sir for males.

For more information on the British monarchy, see the royal website at

When traveling abroad, it's a good idea to contact the U.S. State Department for information about the country of destination, see