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Old 03-29-2010, 08:22 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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Did Margaret Thatcher actually kneel & kiss the Queen's hand when she was appointed Prime Minister?

I'm watching The Queen on AMC and just saw the scene where Tony Blair actually got down on one knee as part of the "Kissing Hands" (ie when Her Majesty invited him to form the government) and literally kissed her hand. According to Wikipedia it's just term, officeholders aren't expected to actually kiss the monarch's hands, but some have unexpectedly done so. What did Mrs Thatcher do? A man doing it looks bizarre enough, but between two woman is an even more strange image.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:05 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I've wondered that myself. I'll ask a Thatcher fan I know.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:24 AM
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Aren't women just expected to curtsey?

Supported here:
http://www.royal.gov.uk/HMTheQueen/G.../Overview.aspx

However, the curtsey is apparently the equivalent of a bow for a man, so I don't know what the equivalent of kissing hands would be, if anything.

Last edited by robby; 03-30-2010 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:28 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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I saw a documentary drama about Thatcher recently which indicated that she used to engage in ostentatious overblown curtseying to the floor in front of The Queen, which apparently drove the Queen nuts, as she knew that Thatcher regarded herself as more significant.

So, in answer to the OP, she probably did. If only to piss Liz off.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:31 AM
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P.S. In any event, I expect that the traditional ceremony did not envision a female office-holder (as opposed to a female monarch, which goes way back, of course).
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:35 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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Originally Posted by robby View Post
Aren't women just expected to curtsey?However, the curtsey is apparently the equivalent of a bow for a man, so I don't know what the equivalent of kissing hands would be, if anything.
It's a kind of homage to the office, much like Catholics kissing the Pope's hand. I think it's mostly reserved for ceremonial occasions, such as Knighthood ceremonies, where the monarch is bestowing an honour - in this case, I think the hand kissing is a kind of oath of allegiance. It would seem a little strange for the PM to do it in private, although I suppose it does represent this oath of allegiance.

To be honest, it all feels a bit Henry VIII these days and can't imagine it goes on that much outside of formal ceremony, except amongst over enthusiastic foreign diplomats.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:56 AM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is offline
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I remember when I watched the movie thinking this was the best argument in favor of a monarchy I'd ever seen. I thought it would have done the US some good if GWB had been required to show some humility before a figurehead (or, alternatively, to have been a figurehead with no real power.) Now that Obama is in office I feel the same way.

Pledging allegiance to a flag (frankly the stupidest loyalty ceremony ever!) just isn't the same.

ETA: It's a bit disapointing to realize that kissing the HM's hand isn't actually required.

Last edited by Alan Smithee; 03-30-2010 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:19 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
I remember when I watched the movie thinking this was the best argument in favor of a monarchy I'd ever seen. I thought it would have done the US some good if GWB had been required to show some humility before a figurehead (or, alternatively, to have been a figurehead with no real power.) Now that Obama is in office I feel the same way.

You've pretty much summed up why the British people are broadly happy to keep a monarchy - to keep the egos of our politicians in check. Of course, it helps that the Queen is greatly respected, who knows if we'll feel the same once she's gone.
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:53 AM
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There are several different issues here.

Firstly, there is the question of whether a new Prime Minister literally kneels and kisses the Queen's hand on being invited to form a government. The answer to that appears to be - not necessarily. Some have done so and others haven't. It isn't actually required. And it has been suggested that Blair did do so but that Brown did not. As for Thatcher, I suspect that, unless she mentions it in her memoirs, we don't know.

But the new Prime Minister does kneel and kiss hands at the subsequent Privy Council at which he or she is sworn in as First Lord of the Treasury. As indeed do all the other members of the Cabinet.

Also, is it really so odd for a woman to kneel and kiss the hands of another woman? As opposed to a man kneeling and kissing the hand of another man? It is not as if there are not other occasions on which women kneel for ceremonial purposes. Even the Queen herself sometimes does so (even if she is only 'person' she kneels before is God). As for women kissing the monarch's hand as a sign of submission, that's just as old as men doing so.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:47 PM
Cheshire Human Cheshire Human is offline
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Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
It's a kind of homage to the office, much like Catholics kissing the Pope's hand.
Catholics kiss his "fisherman's ring", not his hand. It's paying respect to the office the ring represents, rather than to the man who holds the office. They were also required to kiss a bishop's ring, for the same reason, but that one's not much done anymore. The pope is still fairly common, but no longer required except by priests in official audiences. I imagine if one wanted to piss off one's bishop, you might do that. Squick him out.
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Old 04-01-2010, 12:03 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I've wondered that myself. I'll ask a Thatcher fan I know.
I asked my friend Chris, who knows just about everything, and I mean everything, about Thatcher. And he didn't know. Sorry.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:34 PM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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I asked my friend Chris, who knows just about everything, and I mean everything, about Thatcher. And he didn't know. Sorry.
Quite honestly our Queen is us ,fuck with her and we will fuck with you.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:09 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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In that scene in the movie The Queen, wasn't Blair instructed that he was to back out of the room, so as not to show the Queen his backside? Is that the correct etiquette?
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:13 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Quite honestly our Queen is us ,fuck with her and we will fuck with you.
Um... OK?
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:20 AM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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Um... OK?
Politicians are politicians with all the respect and reverance that that generates.
The Queen isn't a politician and so we'd quite happily see her horsewhip the prime minister at her weekly briefings whichever party he/she comes from let alone anything else.
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Old 04-02-2010, 04:01 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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In that scene in the movie The Queen, wasn't Blair instructed that he was to back out of the room, so as not to show the Queen his backside? Is that the correct etiquette?
Traditionally, yes. You don't turn your back on the monarch. Although I doubt anyone gets sent to the Tower for it these days.
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:20 AM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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There's a bit in Wedgie Benn's memoirs where they all knelt down in the wrong place and had to shuffle across the room in their knees, knocking over a small table, at which the Queen looked blackly furious (he found out later she was trying not to laugh).
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:45 PM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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There's a bit in Wedgie Benn's memoirs where they all knelt down in the wrong place and had to shuffle across the room in their knees, knocking over a small table, at which the Queen looked blackly furious (he found out later she was trying not to laugh).

You have just totally cracked me up, I nearly choked.
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:26 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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You have just totally cracked me up, I nearly choked.
I'd imagine she has to find her amusement where she can.
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:01 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I'd imagine she has to find her amusement where she can.
Or so Bruce implied: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f_p0CgPeyA
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