In a breach of royal protocol the Canada’s Governor General helped Britain’s Queen Elizabeth down some stairs and ended up raising eyebrows, after touching the monarch’s elbow, in defiance of royal protocol.
On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II dropped by Canada House in London to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. As she was arriving, Canada’s governor general stepped in to help her on some stairs.
In the process, he grabbed her elbow. And while it might not look like a faux pas, touching the queen is a major breach of protocol. Though the Royal Family’s official website says that there are no “obligatory codes of behavior” for how to behave, physical contact with the queen is a no-no. (Shaking hands is the exception.)
Although the Royal Family’s official website says that “there are no obligatory codes of behavior” during a meeting with the Queen, touching the monarch beyond shaking hands is unusual and guaranteed to generate headlines.
In a gesture of his own, Johnston also presented the Queen with a Sapphire Jubilee brooch to mark 65 years of her reign.
Johnston apologized for the mistake. “I’m certainly conscious of the protocol,” he told. “I was just anxious to be sure there was no stumbling on the steps.”
He explained, too, that he shares the blame with that most nefarious villain: a rug. “It’s a little bit awkward, that descent from Canada House to Trafalgar Square, and there was carpet that was a little slippy, and so I thought perhaps it was appropriate to breach protocol just to be sure that there was no stumble,” he said.