Thursday, May 03, 2007

Royal Protocol

Should I wear a hat, asks Virginia first lady Anne Holton. Hosting Her Royal Highness, you see, and my, my, my whatever's to be done to do it all properly? What should the ladies wear? Can they wear pants?

The State Department has sent an official to Virginia to assist the locals with proper protocol for a visit from the Queen of England. I hate to break the news to them, but, well, she's not the Queen over here. Not since 1776, and her late great ancestor King George was not entirely pleased that the Americans chose to leave the fold.

Proper protocol? Don't ask the Irish. The Queen's not been to visit since Victoria popped in, and her visit during the height of the Great Famine is the stuff of legend...none of it complimentary. There's no invitation in the works, either, and no popular push to ask her to tea.

So how to behave in the presence of royalty. Act like a feckin' American, be proud of your democratic heritage, and don't be twisting yourself in knots trying to be British. She's someone else's royalty, and all that's needed is the sort of polite manners that any head of state or visiting dignitary would be granted. And don't curtsy, for Christ's sake.

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