sprezzatura: (Siouxsie)
[personal profile] sprezzatura
The following question occurred to me this afternoon when I got a passage of dialogue from The King's Speech stuck in my head on a loop.

If you met a member of the royal family would you bow/curtsey/conform to other protocol such as not turning your back on the monarch? Can people be thrown in the Tower, or some modern equivalent, for not doing so?

I wouldn't describe myself as an abolitionist (I agree with Anne Robinson, who once said in an interview "I don't mind them being there, but don't expect me to take them seriously") but the idea of grovelling before other human beings based solely on a spurious birthright makes me very uncomfortable. It works the other way, too. A few years ago I had the good fortune to spend a night in an insanely posh hotel in Tokyo and I found the deference of the staff incredibly hard to deal with.

Some of you must have encountered royalty in a formal context, how did you handle it?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] juniperus.livejournal.com
Haven't met one, no, but your question brought to mind this interview (http://alanholic.boo.pl/jkimmel.htm) - about halfway down he talks about 'groveling'. :P

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inbetween-girl.livejournal.com
"I've met quite a lot of them. But you know, I don't believe in any bowing and scraping. I won't do any of that. I was in a film line-up once with Kate Winslet, and she was standing next to me once. I said 'curtsey, and I'll kill you."

Squeee!

Of course, falling to my knees before Alan Rickman would be another matter entirely. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] juniperus.livejournal.com
Well, yeah, but I wouldn't want to do that in front of the Queen! :P

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] medusa.livejournal.com
I've met quite a few of them both formally and informally. Usually I just behave in my usual surly manner but I was made to curtsey to Princess Diana when I met her as I was given the job of formally presenting her with a bouquet in front of the press. Gah. I hated it.

I didn't curtsey to the Queen or Prince Phillip, although that was semi formal. The rest, like I said, I've just doggedly been myself.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfs.livejournal.com
I met Prince Charles when I was a Cub Scout and he was opening a museum. I seem to remember I saluted and he saluted back.

Weirdly, I didn't mind the deference / politeness when I was in Japan. But then I tried to bow back too.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 09:06 pm (UTC)
diffrentcolours: (Default)
From: [personal profile] diffrentcolours
When the Queen visited my school, I managed to watch it with a beer from a 8th floor flat overlooking the visit, remarking that it would be a lovely place to have a rifle...

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 09:25 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] failing-angel.livejournal.com
I suspect that I'd follow protocol, not least as a matter of courtesy (not, however, a matter of curtsy).
Equally, what's the issue in the first place, showing a degree of deference is hardly grovelling.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
They'd get the same amount of consideration as anyone else. Respect is earned, not given.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] goodqueenmolly.livejournal.com
This. I'd be as polite as I would to anyone in a given situation.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cookwitch.livejournal.com
I suppose my sister dinging Prince Phillip 'round the head with a tray doesn't really count?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
To the tune of 'Muletrain'? Rock!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nmg.livejournal.com
Oh god. I've just remembered Bob Blackman. You swine.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
Glad to be of service.

'Muletrain' used to be on the steam-powered jukebox in The Halfway at Kineton. It is alleged that you've not lived until you've seen a mob of Young Farmers 'singing' along, complete with beer-trays.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] puritypersimmon.livejournal.com
My mother in law met Harry at a wedding and he was apparently at pains to discourage that kind of deference. It's probably a generational thing, I guess (and would depend partly on context, too).

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rosamicula.livejournal.com
I once bobbed to Princess Horseface of Kent, but I was only just 11 and following orders.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-10 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-siobhan.livejournal.com
I've met Princess Anne (in a riding for the disabled volunteer capacity) wondered why she was with a man from the Salvation Army with a big sword who it turned out was actually the Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire or something. Luckily she didn't see what was in my handbag the next time we were in a room together.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-11 07:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ivory-goddess.livejournal.com
What WAS in your handbag??

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-11 08:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-siobhan.livejournal.com
Next time I see you in the flesh I will explain - or Sarah could next time she sees you :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-11 09:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] makyo.livejournal.com
I've never met any members of the royal family - the nearest I got was when Prince Philip came to open my school's new science block when I was nine, and we all lined up in the playground to wave at him when he left. Somewhere I have a slightly blurred photograph of the back of his head - I pressed the button on my camera just as he turned away to wave to the other half of the school.

I think I'd feel mostly ok about bowing (well, nodding respectfully, at least) to a senior royal - not because I feel any great sense of awe towards them personally (and in fact my opinion of HRH Sir Prince Charles in particular isn't especially high), but because they are in some sense (semi-arbitrarily chosen) representatives of the State, a kind of proxy for the country as a whole.

When I used to do t'ai chi, we had a tradition of bowing when entering and leaving the practice room, and my teacher explained once that the point of this was that we were not just showing respect to him and our fellow students, but also to his teacher and fellow students, and to everyone else who had gone before. I quite liked that idea.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-11 01:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lucybutler.livejournal.com
My friend and I mooned at Prince Charles once (his car had stopped at traffic lights; we were 11 at the time......anyway, he waved at us) :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-11 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] girfan.livejournal.com
I've come sort of close but never met any of the royal family (a friend's mother was Princess Margaret's lady-in-waiting). Not sure if I would be expected to do much more than be polite since I'm from the US.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-11 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arkady.livejournal.com
I would give the Queen a polite bow in recognition of her position and also as a sign of my personal respect for her as a person; I would thereafter be polite and use appropriate terms of address as I would for anyone occupying certain positions, inherited or not. The respect is for the position and whatever respect that person has earned whilst in that role.

Lesser Royals than the Queen would get a simple nod of the head and correct politeness, no more. I am a Royalist, but my loyalty is to the throne and no others. It is the position that is set above mine, but other than that they are no more entitled to my respect than any other stranger and will be treated as my equal. Simple as that.
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