|“If her Majesty be pleased to extend her hand, the fortunate one so honored, never shakes the hand. It rests on the back of the hand of the one to whom it is given, who, if highly honored, may kiss the royal fingers.”– Above, Queen Victoria receiving news of her accession from Lord Conyngham, kneeling to kiss her hand, and William Howley, Archbishop of Canterbury. –1895 photomechanical print from the BritishMuseum.org|
The etiquette accorded to royalty always interests me. I have had unusual journalistic facilities for observing all phases of this. It is as ceremonious as between the Prince and Princess of Wales and their guests. Even the daughters of the Prince address him as “Sire” and their mother as “Madame.” They never turn their backs on him, and their greeting courtesy is profound. Well, if this be ceremonious, the etiquette to the Queen is ultra-ceremonious.
The courtesy to her is well nigh a prostration. The hands are crossed primly on the breast. If her Majesty be pleased to extend her hand, the fortunate one so honored, never shakes the hand. It rests on the back of the hand of the one to whom it is given, who, if highly honored, may kiss the royal fingers. “Thou shall have no others gods but me.” Pshaw! Why docs that sacred line linger in my memory? Anyway, one seems to rather like the courtesies extended to the Queen Empress. – London Letter in the Coronado Mercury, 1887
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia