Average British citizens already have a minefield to navigate when it comes to saying hello to family friends and distant relatives (one kiss, or two? Was opting for a handshake a little cold?)
Theresa May, however, has to make such faux pas in front of millions. And this week, her curtsy has fallen under scrutiny – and not for the first time.
May bent a knee to shake the hand of Prince William in Amiens, France.
But “bent” is a bit of an understatement, as the prime minister went in for a full-blown lunge.
This happened back in June, but only recently has Twitter fully seized the opportunity to mock May for her, erm, unique greeting.
She’s been compared to a flailing ostrich, a figure skater and even Gollum from The Lord of the Rings.
“Once again, May nearly smashes her head off the pavement,” one user wrote.
“AWKWARD,” another said, while one person mused “It a wonder to me that she doesn’t topple…”
Here's that Theresa May awkward curtsy in full. pic.twitter.com/jdyIDgolhu
— Paul Burley (@burgerhewrote) August 8, 2018
People first noticed Theresa May’s curtsy style as she entered Number 10, greeting the Queen with her signature low step back in 2016.
Perhaps the strangest of her curtsies was last July when she greeted the Duchess of Cambridge in Belgium, and Kate Middleton appeared to succeed in keeping a straight face.
Technically, however, May’s curtsying isn’t against royal protocol – even if it is a little over enthusiastic.
— carve her name… (@CarveHerName) July 13, 2017
According to Kensington Palace, there are no “obligatory” codes of behaviour when meeting the Queen or member of the royal family, but many people still wish to observe traditional greetings.
It reads: “For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.
“On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is ‘Your Majesty’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am,’ pronounced with a short ‘a,’ as in ‘jam’.
Think Theresa May has mastered this curtsy thing…
— Derek Momodu (@DelMody) August 8, 2018
“For male members of the Royal Family the same rules apply, with the title used in the first instance being ‘Your Royal Highness’ and subsequently ‘Sir’.
“For other female members of the Royal Family the first address is conventionally ‘Your Royal Highness’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am’.”
The important word here for Theresa May is “small”; few would call Theresa’s knee-bend “small”.
So if May wishes to observe the palace’s traditional greetings, perhaps she should put a little less energy into it.
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