Queen Elizabeth, 94, and the wider Royal Family are subject to etiquette rules that might seem bizarre to the ordinary person. However, for the royals, these protocols are vital in maintaining their public appearance.
Not only are protocols in place here in the UK, but they also follow the monarch and her family wherever they go.
As part of her role as head of state, Queen Elizabeth has jetted off to all manner of countries over the years and is often photographed when disembarking from the royal plane on arrival.
This is where one of the most crucial royal etiquette rules comes into play, but it has been a difficult one to master in the past.
According to protocol, members of the Royal Family must descend stairs with elegance and grace – regardless whether that is entering a state dinner or clambering down the steps of a plane after a transatlantic journey.
Reports state female royals must not bow their heads, and instead must keep their chins parallel to the ground, pointing their toes as they walk.
They may rest their hand upon a bannister or rail for extra support if there is one, but if not they must keep their hands at their sides.
If the female royals are accompanied by a male royal, he may assist her by offering his arm as support.
However, there are other elements at play when walking down stairs outdoors which can make maintaining poise somewhat of a challenge, as her majesty has discovered in years gone by.
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On her 1963 tour of New Zealand, the Queen faced an embarrassing exposure when descending from the royal plane alongside the Duke of Edinburgh.
What’s more, the moment was captured on camera by photographers waiting on the tarmac.
Author Robert Hardman documents the moment in his book “Queen of the World”.
He writes: “During the 1963 tour of New Zealand, a gust of wind raised the Queen’s skirt in the capital and created ‘Windy Wellington’ headlines around the world.
“The photographer Reginald Davis captures the moment for the British press – ‘it only showed her slip’ – yet when he submitted it for the 1963 Photographer of the Year Awards, the judges refused to accept it, on grounds of taste.”
A similar incident occurred again in 1991.
Hardman continues: “The same thing happened as the Queen arrived in Namibia, and her skirt was caught in a gust as she descended from her plane.
“The wind has been an occupational hazard on tour for most of her reign.”
Luckily, the monarch concocted a nifty way of ensuring such an incident never happens again.
Queen Elizabeth reportedly worked with one of her fashion designers to come up with a method of weighing the hem of her skirts down.
“She buys small lead weights from the curtain department at Peter Jones and sews them into the royal hemlines, not only to maintain the shape of the Queen’s clothes but to prevent what would now be called a ‘wardrobe malfunction’,” explains Hardman.
It is not known if other members of the family have also put this method to use, but in recent years it seems well-travelled younger Royals have all managed to disembark from flights unscathed.
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