Royal Protocol has always existed in the British monarchy since they had Kings and Queens. The royal protocol ensures that there is no confusion and that people behave in a manner that is decent and as we all know; bureaucracy is a favorite in monarchies. The royal protocol is just one of those things that we all like to keep. It is not obligatory, in case you didn’t know, and a person will not be punished for not following the protocol. However, people will find that it is much easier, from an optics point of view, to just conform. It is not fair to make people feel awkward by going off script. Plus, these are the Royals, it is always more advisable to show some respect. However, people get star-struck, confused and at times, just stumble through the traditional forms of greeting. The Royals do understand that the traditional forms are not something that you can learn in a few hours before meeting them. They understand when people come to see them, they are nervous and could stumble through this process. It is usually very funny when celebrities stumble. We would think that because they are celebrities, they would know how to smoothly weave through this process without looking nervous. However, they do stumble and some of them are pretty famous. Here is a list of some of the celebrities who stumbled through this formality in funny and sometimes really awkward ways.
Lady Gaga was really flashy
The Lady is known for being flashy and over the top when it comes to what she wears and when she went to see the Queen, she was dressed in a very flashy outfit. Protocol dictates that you should look conservative when seeing the Queen. However, instead of shocking the Queen, this outfit seemed to be funny and she could not help but giggle.
This was back in the Royal Variety Performance in 2009. Again, what did we expect when you invite Lady Gaga. The probability of her being really flashy and just fabulous is always there. Lady Gaga has been the fashion icon of everything that is ‘different’. Even the most toned down version of Lady Gaga is enough to make you gawk. She certainly wasn’t going to look boring, not even for the Queen.
Anna Wintour didn’t take her sunglasses off
Queen Elizabeth II appeared at London Fashion Week, which was rare. She happened to sit next to Anna Wintour and it was reported that Anna broke the royal protocol when she wore sunglasses and did not take them off when she was next to the Queen. However, as with most of the bumbling that happens, the Queen was not offended by it. The Queen has clearly seen more than that and was accommodating.
Anna Wintour obviously did not mean to be offensive. She probably did not know that the sunglasses would be distracting. It is not uncommon for a celebrity figure to be in sunglasses. It is an instinct thing for them and admittedly, even if she had known, Anna could have easily forgotten to take them off.
Meghan Markle closed the door herself
Meghan has broken some rules and one of her recent ones was when she was at an exhibition titled ‘Oceania’. She had the car door opened for her and she was greeted by Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Kenneth Olisa. However, after she shook his hand, she closed the door herself. That is a breaking of protocol because Royalsyals are not supposed to do that for themselves.
It makes the people supposed to do their job, look bad. However, this was not the first time that she did something that she was not supposed to do and they just let her off the hook because, it is just Meghan being Meghan. She was touted as being down-to-earth after this incident and that did not hurt her image one bit.
The Queen didn’t know Madonna
The story goes like this. It was 2002 and the James Bond movie ‘Die Another Day’ had just come out. The Queen decided to go see it and that is when she met Madonna. So, the Queen meets Madonna and asks her who she is. Someone told her that Madonna was the one who performed the movie’s theme song. The Queen said, “Oh really, did you?”
Well, either the Queen needs to catch up on pop culture or she has a great sense of comedy. But then again, she is the Queen, you don’t think she spends time on Netflix and chill. She is old and even back then, it was unlikely that she would be in touch with what was going on, let alone know who performed the theme song for a movie, even one as famous as James Bond.
David Beckham alledgedly wants knighthood
David Beckham did not break protocol. However, he has been said to be a groveler because apparently, he wants a knighthood. This does not make him look good and has hurt his chances of actually being made into one. Beckham has in the past bragged about his involved presence in the Buckingham Palace and praises the Queen constantly. This does not sit well with anybody.
However, it has also been observed that the love Beckham apparently has for the Queen, has been reciprocated because she beams whenever she has met him. There have been people describing this warmth that she shows for Beckham as just her being a fangirl. It is cute though if you are not too critical. Who doesn’t want a knighthood?
Mickey Rooney kissed the Queen’s hand
As usual, we all know that touching the Queen beyond a handshake is something you should not attempt. However, when Mickey Rooney met the Queen, he went for something a little more than what is recommended. He smooched the hand of the Queen.
She played it off and continued smiling and talking to the movie star. It was a good thing that she was wearing the gloves she usually has on or it would have been so interesting. But the actor was really excited to meet the Queen, and a kiss on the hand was a sign of respect and chivalry.
Louis Garneau put his arm around the Queen
There was a time when the Queen went to Canada. She met a cyclist named Louis Garneau, he is famous. He asked for a photo and she said yes. So, he put her arm around her and the photo was taken. She was beaming. Prince Phillip was surprised.
The Queen took it all in her stride. Louis would later explain that the moment was the way it was because, in sports, they do that arm thing all the time – it was such a natural thing for him to do that at that moment he didn’t think it through.
Angelina Jolie wore pantyhoes
The movie star got the chance to meet the Queen and she may have broken some fashion rules. She was wearing a lilac jacket and a skirt when she was receiving her Honorary Dame Grand Cross award in the 1844 room.
She was also wearing peep toe shoes. So, that means she was not wearing a pantyhose and that is a requirement for royals and guests who come to see them too. Open-toe shoes are also not recommended for females in the royal family at all, leave alone the pantyhose.
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank held hands
So, Princess Eugenie got married and the Queen was at their wedding. The couple held hands. This is a show of affection that is not approved for display in front of the Queen, who has been married for more than 70 years and never ever holds hands with Prince Philip in public.
Even though Meghan and Harry show PDA all the time, they never ever do it in front of the Queen. These are all based on old traditions that the Royals probably do not even remember and it is possible that it will one day be invalid.
Allison Janney was barefoot
When she won the Best Supporting Actress at the BAFTA Awards, Allison Janney admitted to James Corden that she was not wearing any shoes when she was speaking to Kate and William. She admitted that she also called Kate ‘Honey’.
She was forgiven for this however and the whole incident was not an issue because the Royals were okay with it. The moment was a little awkward because she apparently told Kate to also take off her shoes because she was pregnant. Probably because she thought it would be comfortable or something along those lines.
LeBron James bascially hugged Kate
This famous NBA player was accused of breaching protocol by doing something that another sportsman had done. He broke the most important rule; don’t touch them. He put his arm around Kate when they took a photo together with William in the frame too.
Kate did not do the same for him but according to Victoria Arbiter, this can be a breath of fresh air for the royals who are not used to that kind of closeness with people.
Ed Sheeran held on for too long
So, Prince Charles was fortunate enough to meet Ed Sheeran. He was fortunate to meet the guy that once had 12 of his tracks in the Billboard’s top 20 from a single album. Ed shook the Prince’s hand and while doing that, he touched his hand.
People are not supposed to do that but apparently, Prince Charles was nonplussed. Ed said, “He was asking me if I was still selling lots of records and I told him I’ve got a concert in New York tomorrow, and he was quite surprised I was flying after this.”
Margot Robbie and Cara Delevingne prank called a Royal
These two may have broken not only protocol but possibly law when they prank called Prince Harry. They were co-stars in Suicide Squad and Cara knows Harry. So, Margot Robbie suggested that they should prank call the Prince and they did.
He was cool about it but they should not have done that. Speaking of British royalty, Margot said, “Prince Harry is so nice – England literally has the coolest royalty in the world.” It is true. They are the best.
Brendan Cole invited Camilla to dance
The star of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, Brendan Cole, made headlines when he broke the rules. He invited Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, to a dance at the Royal Event that was supposed to be highlighting the benefits of having an active lifestyle when you are an older adult.
Some people even think that this breach of etiquette was the reason that his contract for the show was not renewed. If that story is to be believed, this must be one of those times that something bad happened to someone who broke royal etiquette.
Liam Payne reached out for the hand
Liam Payne met the Queen and he broke protocol by doing something one should definitely not do. He touched her by shaking her hand, something that he is not allowed to do. The rule is actually simple; you should not extend your hand to royalty unless they do it first.
Payne is off the hook for this one because he did the same thing the previous year when he met the Queen. She probably knew what to expect.
Margot Robbie didn’t know she was talking to Prince Harry
A lot of people who get to meet the members of the royal family, know who they are. They usually even prepare to make sure that they observe the rules. However, Margot Robbie had no idea who Prince Harry was when she met him during a party. She only figured it out 30 minutes into their conversation.
Lord, that must have been embarrassing for her! This bonding time must have been the reason why she was bold enough to prank-call Harry much later when she was on the set of Suicide Squad.
Sam Smith bowed a bit too much
The crooning Sam Smith is another entertainer who made a faux pas that was funny, to say the least. Time reported, with photographs, showing Smith shaking Prince William’s hand and then bowing, a little too deeply. Prince William was amused by this, because it was comical.
“My issue is that I watch too much Downtown Abbey. You get instructions, they say you’ve got to bow with one arm behind your back. If someone tells you to bow — I properly went for it!” Smith said in his defense.
Claire Foy touches the Queen’s hand
Even though it wasn’t particularly an ‘official’ break of protocol, it was close. Everyone who is a fan of the Netflix series “The Crown” probably wants to know if Claire Foy, the actress who plays the Queen, has actually met her face to face. In an interview, she shared that the answer was yes. She had very briefly met the Queen before.
When asked about the experience, she said it was a brief encounter, where Queen Elizabeth II touched her hand and she touched hers. As we’ve understood, touching the Queen’s hand is a big no-no, but if the Queen touches one’s hand back, it probably means that everything is alright.
Serena Williams took a selfie
The Queen is said to be against the practice of royals taking selfies with their fans. Some of them have broken this rule on occasion but mostly with ordinary people. There was a celebrity who broke this rule.
Serena Williams snapped a selfie with Kate and Sophie (Countess of Wessex). She then posted the photo on Snapchat and said in a video, “I’m in the in-crowd now. I’m with royalty.” The Queen apparently frowns upon something like that.
The Spice Girls got a bit too excited
To be specific, Gari Halliwell. So, it was the late 90s and the Spice Girls were very famous. They met Royalty and Gari Halliwell allegedly pinched Prince Charles’s bottom. Well, she cleared this up later by mentioning that she did not actually pinch his bottom but patted it.
Even that, in itself, is crazy. She defended herself saying, “It was the premiere of our film, Spice World, in the late nineties. There was a lot of nervous energy; young women, happy antics.”
David Duchovny explained some slang to Prince Charles
Actor David Duchovny had a run in with the future Monarch Prince Charles and it was a little embarrassing. He said that he was attending a concert for the Queen where the Prince was of course also in attendance and the band ‘All Saints’ was playing a song that had an interesting lyric in it that kept repeating.
The prince asked himself what it could mean and David offered to explain it to him saying -‘”Well it’s when a man or a woman calls a man or a woman to come to their home late at night for the express purpose of getting together and then leaving right afterward” to which Charles answered “Oh” and looked quite surprised.
Simon Pegg made the queen cry
Actor Simon Pegg took part in a film voicing the character of a mouse on the screen. The Queen was invited to the premiere of. On a talk show, Simon shared that the Queen actually got emotional from a specific part in the film and actually teared up and dabbed her eyes with a tissue.
Simon was excited that the movie got her emotional and was also very entertained to see her wearing plastic 3D glasses.
Shawn Mendes runs away from Meghan and Harry and avoids the Queen
Shawn Mendes was playing at a concert in the United Kingdom for the Queen’s birthday and while wandering around backstage actually bumped into the Queen. He knew that you are not allowed to talk to her first so he just stared at her in a very awkward silence that felt uncomfortable avoiding her.
Later that day Shawn heard Harry and Meghan having a chat and really wanted to say hi but got scared so he walked in their dressing room and just turned around. Awkward!
Emilia Clarke made sounds at Prince William
Emilia Clarke is a very popular and talented actress and also British so she got the honor of meeting Prince William at an event. She said that she was giving a quick briefing of protocol beforehand and was told to call him Your Royal Highness.
Then he entered the room and she lost all her cool and just managed to mumble some sounds of out her mouth. She said “I was so scared, I couldn’t manage to get out ‘Your Royal Highness’. So it was kind of like “ra… ra…”, it was pretty much all I managed.”
Ben Affleck’s Kids have a playdate with Will and Kate’s kids
Ben Affleck was filming a movie in London when his youngest son came to visit him on set. He took some of the day off and took him sightseeing in London even to Buckingham but they didn’t encounter any Royals there. Later that day Ben took his son to a play park for kids and he noticed that the other adults were acting strangely and dressed in fancy clothing.
He looked around and noticed that his son was actually playing in the park with little Prince George and Princess Charlotte the children of duke and duchess William and Kate. Ben laughed about the situation and said that – “I can now tell him that he got a cold from the King of England!”
Michael Sheen had to avoid talking about his movie with the Queen
Michael Sheen played former prime minister Tony Blair in a movie about the aftermath of the loss of Princess Diana in a car crash. The movie showcased the relationship between the Queen and Tony Blair and some may say it was a bit difficult to watch.
It was said that when Micheal met the Queen he told her about who he was playing and it wasn’t the easiest thing to tell her. She told him that it may be a difficult role to play. Later it was known that the Queen would avoid watching the movie as it didn’t portray her in the best of light.
Now We Know What We Shouldn’t Do
A lot of people have had their infractions with the Queen. This list is by no means very exhaustive. However, this is not a very uncommon occurrence, it is just that it gets more traction when it is a celebrity that messes up like that.
As we progress into future ages where rules keep changing, few of the arcane rules of royalty will remain. However, we hope that the monarchy never gets disbanded because we love our Kings and Queens.