That Chance Encounter With Royalty

It could happen to any of us. You pop into the local supermarket for a loaf of bread and a case of wine – and there’s the Queen, buying a packet of hobnobs and half a dozen free-range eggs. What do you do?

Fortunately, society hostess Lady Troubridge has the answer…

This chapter is most distinctly not written for the men and women whose loyalty takes the mistaken form of crowding after our King and Queen at times when they obviously are seeking privacy and relaxation. Only loyalty can excuse this lack of discretion; but there ought not to be any need for it, surely, if we remember, as we should, how unceasingly they work for us, and how rare are their moments of enjoying the privacy every other man and woman in England can claim as a right.

The chance encounter, unsought, is another matter.

Impossible to pass them by as if one had not seen them. We are all agreed about that. But what to do?

Supposing the Royal car passes close by when you and your husband, say, are strolling in a quiet thoroughfare. He should at once take off his hat and hold it in his hand till the car has passed, and you, madam, must make the slightest of curtsies.

In a shop the recognition should be more subtle still, and it should consist of a drawing back rather than a coming forward, and quietly moving away, forbearing to stare at the Royal lady while she makes her purchases.

In any and every case, staring is wrong, and should be sternly avoided.

From Etiquette and Entertaining: To Help You on Your Social Way by Lady Troubridge (1939)

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