Times Queen Elizabeth Was Disrespected In Public

Meeting Queen Elizabeth is a top honor for anyone, but the privilege comes with a stringent set of guidelines. According to the BBC, there is a long list of "Dos and Don'ts" by which one should adhere at the peril of being accused of — Gasp! — disrespecting the queen. The rules ranges from the obvious (Don't touch her.) to the more dubious (Groups waiting to meet her should stand in semi-circles, rather than lines.) It's a lot to keep track of, and everyone from athletes to celebrities to heads of state have goofed it up. In fact, you don't even have to meet her majesty in person to offend her, as pop star Rihanna discovered when she got a little too creative on social media.

Of course, the crown keeps a stiff upper lip about such infractions, meaning you'll likely never see a royal decree admonishing a guest at Buckingham Palace for an improper curtsy, but the media can't get enough of these so-called scandals. Slip into your fancy gloves and don your finest fascinator, as we explore the scandalous times when Queen Elizabeth was disrespected in public.

Trump's meeting with the queen was par for the course

President Donald Trump isn't exactly known for his adherence to ... well any sort of etiquette, so it shouldn't come as a shock that he seemingly forgot the entire royal protocol when he met Queen Elizabeth. According to USA Today, the commander-in-chief committed several flubs during his July 2018 meeting with her majesty when he allegedly, "[kept] her waiting for more than 10 minutes (which may not have been his fault), shook her hand instead of bowing, turned his back on her for a few seconds, and he left his jacket open and flapping and his too-long tie trailing."

The perceived gaffes were so egregious that even self-proclaimed "anti-royalists" took to Twitter to lambaste Trump. Another detractor tweeted that he felt it was "a mortal insult" for Trump to have "turned his back on the Queen."

True to form, Trump issued no apology for his behavior. He later claimed at a rally (via Politico) that he was the one waiting on the queen, despite the existence of video footage proving contrary. He did also refer to the queen in a later interview as  "elegant" and "beautiful," which are both ways he once described the game of golf. We wonder if there's an official royal guideline on indirectly equating her majesty with a fancy patch of grass with holes in it.

Anna Wintour's future with the queen isn't looking so bright

Anyone who's heard of Anna Wintour, fashion maven and longtime editor-in-chief of Vogue, is also familiar with the iconic oversized Chanel sunglasses she's almost always seen wearing, regardless of the occasion. Meeting Queen Elizabeth during London Fashion Week in 2018 was apparently no exception, and to say that it ruffled the feathers of royal etiquette aficionados would be an understatement. 

Speaking with Independent.ie, "etiquette expert" Grant Harrold called the alleged slight "unacceptable" and "the height of bad manners" as well as a "serious breach" of protocol. "She should have removed them before being in the presence of the Queen, let alone in discussion." Perhaps Wintour, a British native who received a "DBE, or Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, from Queen Elizabeth II" less than a year prior to #shadesgate, felt like the honor entitled her to some leeway with the rules. Maybe after wearing shades seemingly 24/7 for decades, she just forgot they were on her face. 

Of course, neither Wintour nor her majesty uttered a peep about the virulent backlash, but just to ensure that we're properly framing this alleged sign of blatant disrespect, consider the following: Wintour once ditched the specs for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Blimey!

Meghan Markle's got legs, and she doesn't know how to use them

Every female suitress of Prince Harry fielded the unrelenting gaze of royal-watchers, particularly those ready to pounce on any perceived coarseness that fell outside of Buckingham Palace protocol. American actress Meghan Markle probably got it the worst as she prepared to join the ranks of the royal family as Harry's bride.

In the run-up to their nuptials, Markle was accused of bucking royal trends in every conceivable way, from her divorcée status to her and Harry's nonchalant public displays of affection. But it was her majesty who became the victim of Markle's alleged etiquette insouciance during The Queen's Young Leaders Awards in July 2018 (above). According to the NZ Herald, social media detractors quickly pointed out Markle's sin: "[She] has her legs crossed wrong. What a disrespect to the queen. All royal ladies cross at the ankles or put both legs off to the side," one Facebook user wrote. 

Prior to this breathtaking infraction, Markle also once slighted her future grandmother-in-law when she "didn't wear stockings underneath her dress" for her engagement photos. As royal expert Victoria Arbiter told Insider, "You never see a royal without their nude stockings. ... I would say that's really the only hard, steadfast rule in terms of what the Queen requires." Maybe Markle initially had them on, but they got damaged somehow? Is there a policy on royal runners?

Let's hug it out, Liz

We've already established that one of the obvious rules of etiquette regarding Queen Elizabeth is to not touch her, which is understandable, considering the security implications. But when the person doing the scandalous touching happens to be Michelle Obama serving as the first lady of the United States, that's cool, right? 

Wrong. The Guardian reported that Obama "gave the Queen a hug" at a reception at Buckingham Palace in April 2009, which appeared to make her "awkward at first" until she reciprocated "by putting her arm round Obama's waist." Ultimately, the British news outlet pointed out several other past "touching" incidents with other world leaders, and decided "this was not quite a major diplomatic incident." Phew!

Time apparently concurred, and even downgraded The Guardian's description of Obama's egregious hug by writing that she "briefly put her hand on [the queen's] back." The mag also offered some background on the whole "no touching" protocol, claiming it dates back to when European monarchs claimed a "divine right to rule." This holy endowment was believed to bless "the occupant of the throne the supposed ability to cure certain diseases." Therefore, a royal touch was not to be doled out lightly.

In other words: You can't touch Queen Elizabeth, because you might accidentally use up all of her fake magic. Nope, no reason to revise that rule!

Rihanna put in some work work work work work online

Rihanna, who is basically music royalty, drew the ire of her majesty's supporters in April 2017 when she posted a string of hilariously-altered images of the queen on her Instagram. With captions such as "be humble" and "y'all chickens is ash and I'm lotion," the photos were all shots of Rihanna with the queen's face superimposed on them. The reaction was a predictable mix of folks who thought it was either a riot or the exact opposite, with one user replying (via Metro), "Rihanna doesn't even know what respect means she's trashy always will be." 

Rihanna immediately issued an apology and took the pics down — Ha, gotcha! She didn't do any of that. According to The Wrap, the "What's My Name"singer then posted another doctored Queen Elizabeth pic — this time of one of Rihanna's Dior ads with the caption, "haters will say it's photoshop." The Wrap also pointed out that RiRi's royal Insta-Salute came "less than six months after [she] met with Prince Harry in Barbados," so did something happen there? Did the ginger prince let it slip that his monarch grandmum gets down to bangers like "We Found Love" and "Don't Stop the Music?"

Princess Diana practically invented disrespecting the queen

Preceding Meghan Markle under the impossible scrutiny of the royal-gazers was, of course, the late Princess Diana. While we know the awful end result of the tabloid media's fanatical obsession with her, there was also a parallel fixation on the myriad ways in which the People's Princess supposedly embarrassed her queen mother-in-law. 

According to Good Housekeeping, this included everything from the details of Lady Di's wedding to Prince Charles, to the choices they made in rearing their children, to rejecting the aforementioned fashion rules, which she shirked by baring her knees — the horror!

But it was Diana's dealings with the press that reportedly got the queen's knickers in a bunch, particularly Diana's explosive 1995 interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir. During the scandalous sit-down, Diana was candid about her turbulent marriage to Charles (they were separated at the time) and confirmed that they both engaged in extramarital affairs. Just how cross did this make the crown?

One month after the interview, Queen Elizabeth wrote to both Charles and Diana, "urging them to agree to an early divorce," according to The New York Times. By August 1996, her majesty got her wish, according to History, although Diana reportedly walked away from the marriage with "a generous settlement, and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace." She also got to keep "her title of Princess of Wales." Any guesses how QEII felt about that one?

Unfortunately for President Obama, the band played on

If you thought Michelle Obama "hugging" Queen Elizabeth was bad, wait until you hear how her husband turfed it in 2011 during a banquet at Buckingham Palace. 

According to The Globe and Mail, President Obama proposed a toast to her majesty and began it by reading from cue cards. After placing his cards on the table and raising his glass, Obama kept the toast going, but the orchestra must have missed its cue, because it began playing the British national anthem. Obama finished his toast, even quoting Shakespeare while "God Save The Queen" played on. When he turned to his toast recipient, the gaffe was apparent. The queen glanced down at his outstretched glass, then turned to look forward for the rest of the song. Whoops!

According to the BBC, UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later reassured Obama that he "did exactly the right thing," implying that the orchestra was actually to blame for the faux pas. Obama replied, "I thought it was like out of the movies ... like a soundtrack kinda comes in." Nice comeback, Barry. Anyone else miss that guy?

Stupid is as Dubya does

President Obama wasn't the first head of state to embarrass himself in front of Queen Elizabeth. He was preceded in the usurping of royal protocol by President George W. Bush, who committed royal blunders both before and during his presidency. 

According to the BBC, Dubya first met her majesty at the White House in 1991 during his dad's administration. Upon their introduction, he allegedly referred to himself as "the black sheep of the family" and asked her if there was such a member of the royal family. Oh, George.

Years later, then President George W. Bush gave a speech welcoming Queen Elizabeth to the White House. During his remarks, he said she'd "been on the throne since the 18th century." When he realized the goof, he turned and did the most George W. Bush thing he could have possibly done in that moment: He winked at her. 

Yep, you read that right. Dubya mistakenly added more than 100 years to her royal highness' age, then shot her a one-eyed whoopsie glance, which he then said was met with "a look that only a mother could give a child." Wow. Anyone else miss that guy, too?

The seating chart is more important than you think

Let's recap: Don't touch the Queen; don't wink at her, don't toast her when her official jam is playing; don't forget your royal hosiery; and don't cheat on her son, divorce him, and talk about it on the news. Okay, that last one is pretty understandable, but the rest could be perceived as bordering on etiquette overkill. That brings us to Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton, who committed what we have to say is the most baffling of all offenses against the queen. What exactly did he do? 

He sat on her left — Bloody hell, man! According to the BBC, the racer then had the gall to converse with her majesty, upon which he was informed, "No, you speak that way first and I'll speak this way and then I'll come back to you." You see, "it is customary for the guest of honour to sit to the right of the Queen and the convention is that she speaks to this person during the first course of the dinner, then switches attention to the person on her left for the following course," an etiquette expert told the BBC.

Hamilton laughed it off on The Graham Norton Show, saying the experience was "really really cool," but we can't help wondering what type of mythical tale inspired this particular rule. Was Sir Galahad a soup-slurper? Did Merlin spit dressing on King Arthur's face during the salad course?

It truly has become a royal pain to smoke in public

In September 2015, The Mirror discovered that cigarette-loving patrons of the swanky London restaurant Hakkasan were getting their fix right below a commemorative plaque denoting Queen Elizabeth's birthplace. The restaurant is located in the upscale Mayfair district, at 17 Bruton Street, which also happens to be the exact location of a townhouse that was owned by Queen Elizabeth's mother and father, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, before it was destroyed during World War II.

When a councillor from Scotland noticed that the queen's former home had been converted to a smoker's outpost, he complained to the press and made it his mission to "track down who is responsible for it and get it removed." A spokesperson for Hakkasan confirmed that the smoking area was moved "away from the plaque to the other side of the front entrance." 

Now, only the wind can disrespect her majesty, should it decide to so flippantly carry the smoke toward the precious plaque. Surely, no one could accuse a force of nature of being offensive to royalty, right? You know what? We don't even want to know the answer to that.