Usually queens are addressed as “Your Majesty”, but in the modern world this rule is not strictly enforced, and if you make a mistake, you will not be punished. Queen Elizabeth II, the most famous of the living monarchs, once received a wink from the President of the United States, so she is used to violations of etiquette. The royal family is in step with the times, and court etiquette, at least in Britain, is more of a good tradition than a harsh requirement.
Method 1 of 3: Writing to Queen Elizabeth II
Step 1. Decide if you will use the traditional form
According to the official policy of the royal family, you can use any style. Politeness and respect will make any letter a pleasure to read, but you don't have to stick to the formal form. Be honest and do not use the traditional style described below if it seems unsuitable for your writing.
Step 2. Begin your letter with the message “Madam”
Write “Madam” on top, then step back and continue below. This is an official and traditional letter to the Queen of the United Kingdom.
Step 3. Complete the letter with a respectful signature
Traditionally, the end of the letter is: “I have the honor to be, Madam, Your Majesty's most humble and obedient servant” and then you should indicate your name. If you are deeply uncomfortable calling yourself a servant, or you adhere exclusively to the American spelling and always write “honor” and not “honor”, you can use one of the following respectful signatures (followed by a comma and a line below - your name):
- “With greatest respect”;
- “Yours faithfully”;
- “Yours sincerely”.
Step 4. Send the letter
Write the following mailing address on the envelope. The last line is only needed if you are sending a letter from outside the UK:
- The queen
- Buckingham Palace
- London SW1A 1AA
- United Kingdom
Method 2 of 3: Addressing Queen Elizabeth II in person
Step 1. Make a slight curtsy, bow, or nod
Usually, when meeting with the Queen of England, girls make a slight curtsy, and men bow their heads. This is not required now, but Commonwealth residents usually choose this way of greeting. People who are not subjects of the queen often nod slightly instead.
Don't bow to the belt
Step 2. If the queen held out her hand to you, shake it politely
The queen may or may not give her hand - it doesn't really matter. If she extended her hand, shake it briefly and lightly.
Don't be the first to offer your hand to shake
Step 3. Wait for Her Majesty to contact you
A useful general rule of thumb is to take no action or initiate a conversation until the queen speaks to you directly. In this case, of course, you need to wait until the queen has finished speaking, and only then answer.
Step 4. The first time refer to her as “Your Majesty”
If you are missing all the words, say: “Hello, Your Majesty. I am delighted to meet you”. However, any respectful treatment is acceptable.
Step 5. Further in the conversation, refer to her “Ma'am” (“ma'am”)
Make sure that “Ma'am” sounds like “ma'am” and not “mam”. You can use “Your Majesty” again if you are asking a question or introducing someone to the Queen, but otherwise it’s okay to say “Ma'am”.
Step 6. Don't ask personal questions
Most likely, the queen herself will set the topic of the conversation. However, if you get the opportunity to take the initiative, avoid asking questions about her family and personal life.
Step 7. Do not turn your back on the queen until you have finished the conversation
Throughout the conversation, stand in front of her or half-turn. You can turn away or leave only when the conversation is over. And of course, don't forget to politely say goodbye and thank Her Majesty for this unexpected opportunity.
Method 3 of 3: Addressing the Queens of Other Countries
Step 1. Try to find a form of appeal that is accepted in that country
Depending on the traditions and language, different monarchical states have their own forms of addressing the queen. Look for relevant information online or in etiquette books.
Step 2. When in doubt, use “Your Majesty” (if writing in English)
"Your Majesty" in English or in the language of the country you are addressing to the queen is the most common address and is unlikely to sound offensive. This is how you can address most of the queens, from the wife of the Brunei sultan Penginak Anak Salehi to the Queen of Belgium Matilda.
Use “Her Majesty” when talking or writing about the queen in the third person
Step 3. Contact the Empress “Your Imperial Majesty”
If the title of the monarch includes the word "empress" or the nation she is at the head is called an empire, use the reference "Your Imperial Majesty" ("Her Imperial Majesty" if you speak of her in the third person).
- Officially, there is no obligatory form of address to members of the British royal family. You will not be punished for minor mistakes, and most likely, they will simply be paid attention to.
- Some etiquette books advise you to write to the Private Secretary of the Queen of the United Kingdom, who handles her correspondence. However, the royal family officially welcomes to be contacted directly.