Saturday 18 November 2017

By Royal command

Queen Elizabeth has seen it all in 50 years of royal tours; power cuts, naked natives and drink-fuelled student protest. As Ireland prepares for her visit and Taoiseach Enda Kenny promises a "right royal welcome", the British monarch herself, officials and dignitaries can learn a few dos and don't's from previous encounters.

1 Speaking: When it comes to important speeches, be wary of equipment and slip-ups. On her 2007 visit to the United States, someone forgot to adjust the lectern height. This resulted in a 'talking hat' queen -- that's all we could see -- which provided an enduring image.

2 Get one's facts right: The queen met George H Bush -- and aged 200 years. Adding a couple of (hundred) years to a woman's age is best avoided. In 1996, President Bush (elder) referred to the queen's last visit in 1776, rather than 1976. "She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child!" he recalled.

3Hands off: That's the rule, and Prime Minister Paul Keating was dubbed The Lizard of Oz when he steered the queen by a hand on her back, during her 1992 Australian visit. However, in 2009, Michelle Obama's famous hug followed the queen's gentle guiding touch on her arm.

4One must avoid glass doors: Many accidents occur indoors, as Camilla, the wife of Prince Charles found out while on an American visit when she accidentally almost walked into a completely clear glass door. "That was a near one," she laughed.

5 Make sure the ESB bill is paid: The queen dressed by candlelight during a power cut on her 2002 Jamaica visit. The lights failed again on her entrance to a banquet -- which was mostly eaten by candlelight, kerosene lamps, and some car headlights.

6 Switch one's phone off: As she worked her way down one receiving line, an irrepressible ringing led to "Better answer it, might be someone important" as a smiling queen passed by one disappointed guest.

7 No snubs: Only death or notifiable illness will excuse absences or late shows. Otherwise, political crises or diplomatic snubs could be assumed by the watching world.

8 Earn a royal gong: In 1903, King Edward VII was so impressed by Irish hospitality that he unexpectedly knighted the Mayor Of Waterford. Can standards be maintained?

Lorna Hogg

Indo Review

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News