CNN was abuzz last night about all the protocol the Obamas would have to follow to meet Queen Elizabeth. Fortunately, they were not required to bow. Apparently American citizens don’t have to bow to the Queen of England.
But there were other considerations. They were not to speak until the Queen spoke first. They were not to touch the Queen. When they met the Queen, she would stick her hand out first to greet them, and then they could reach their hands out to shake hers. They were to never have their backs to the Queen. In their private audience, the Queen would leave the room first or walk out with them in order to avoid this horrible event that would probably cause the worlds to stop turning in at least eight different universes.
I’m a quasi- Anglophile. I’m about as interested in all things British as any good English Literature major. I admire the fact that the Brits have managed to keep a monarchy going for a bejillion-and-a-half years, and I can be moved by tradition, pomp, and circumstance as much as the next rebellious Yank. But, I cannot help but hear the above ridiculous protocol for a President of the United States (for god’s sake) meeting the Queen of England without rolling my eyes and letting fly with a very American “Good grief.” Get over yourself, Bess.
Perhaps it’s simply my baseball and apple pie showing, but it goes against every liberty-loving cell of my body to hear the news of ANYBODY bowing to ANYBODY, with the singular exception of curtain-call time on Broadway.
I see two ways the British Monarchy can continue to be relevant:
1) Skip right past Charles and have William’s coronation. Tomorrow.
2) Figure out some way to convince Elizabeth to join the 20th Century (Yes, I mean 20th; even I’m not enough of an optimist to think she could make the leap all the way to the 21st).
God Save the Queen. From her own pomposity.