Should Americans Bow Before Monarchs?

Suppose I am invited to a party, at which the Queen of England is present. I am introduced-should I bow?
As an American, I belive that humans are equal, and hence, a monarch is no more worthy of a bow than anyone else. If I were British, I certaily would bow.
But I have a problem with bowing-would shaking hands be OK?

Nope, Americans do not bow or curtsey. Or so I have been told.

No one does anymore, except as a voluntary courtesy. In GQ, someone said that Elizabeth II does not require that people bow.

Good thing, since there is no way she could enforce such a requirement.
ETA: Were I invited to a dinner party with the Queen I would look around at what everybody else was doing and do the same. Doesn’t pay to be a prick and I got no ax to grind.

I imagine it’s up to the individual American. I would bow, but just for the appearances… I don’t think she’s “better” than anyone else, and I would imagine most British people would tend to agree. OTOH I can say without being opinionated that no, shaking hands would not be appropriate; touching the Queen is something of a breach of protocol, and it’s not something she would offer. You wouldn’t exactly be sent to the Tower, but you might not get invited back. :wink:

Presidents in your country are still “Mr. President” long after they’ve finished serving, so i’m not entirely sure we monarchist types hold the reins entirely on this one.

What if she gave one of those long, royal full-nostrilled glares?

With the possible exception of Roman Catholics and the Pope it’s not proper for Americans to bow/curtsy before a foreign prince or potentate.

The Canadian solution is for the male to pirouette behind the Queen.

I’m from a Republic. Nope, I wouldn’t bow.

Or for the Pope. I wouldn’t kiss his ring either :wink:

When it was announced that Queen Elizabeth would be attending last year’s Kentucky Derby, the local newpapers were full of information on what was considered proper should your path cross her’s.

There were quite a few mentions like this:

"Meanwhile, about two dozen track employees — from elevator operators to food servers — who might have some contact with the queen attended etiquette class to learn the do’s and don’ts when around royalty.

Among the taboos they were warned about: do not initiate contact by extending your hand to the queen, said Robert Magers, who works in food service at the track and attended the class.

“We were encouraged to protect us from doing that by putting our left hand over our right, and bowing our head or nodding our head toward the queen in respect,” said Magers, assistant director of operations for Levy."

Most of the articles were done in fun, it wouldn’t be likely that the average race goer would actually be in a position to meet her. But it was interesting learning what was considered “proper.” Most suggested it would be polite for us to bow or nod. We shouldn’t speak to her unless she spoke to us first. We shouldn’t touch her. It was presented as how we could be hospitable to our guest, not what we had to do. And I think most appreciated the knowledge of how she would prefer to be treated, just in case.

It would have been more helpful if the papers had told us what was proper when crossing paths with her security people. They were everywhere! The Derby has hosted presidents, and president’s family members, and other foriegn leaders, but we never saw such a security force as we did with the Queen.

Actually being a free people we can choose to do whatever the hell we want in this matter. If some of us want to be polite and play along with whatever customs the Queen likes we are free to do that. If some of us want to make a pointless point they are free to do that too.

Or are you saying that the Queen would consider it improper for an American to bow?

I bow to no man (or woman).

I tend to do a very slight bow to any lady upon first introduction. So, the queen being a lady, I would do the same for her, no more no less. A king would get no more than a hearty handshake, which I would allow him to initiate at his option.

In most parts of Europe, bowing is a failry common, though quite formal, social greeting. It’s pretty understated - a slight inclination, not a deep bow. It;s certainly not confined to kings, queens or heads of state, and it implies polite recognition, not legal subjection.

Consequently, bowing to the Queen of England is not an endorsement of monarchy, or an admission of inferiority. It’s an acknowledgement that your recognise her as the Queen of England, and will not be interpreted as anything more.

What it really comes down to is this; when travellling in Europe (or anywhere else) to what extent do you observe European conventions and customs? This, obviously, is a decision for you personally, and it probably interests you more than it does the Queen.

I’m with you on this one. Americans can do whatever the hell we want, but I’d go with the flow as long as it wasn’t groveling or embarrassing to do so. As our “disagreement” with the Crown is centuries old, I wouldn’t make a point of making a political scene either. I was a young schoolboy during the Silver Jubilee and we have a Royal Wedding mug in our heirloom shelf at home… not being a Brit my opinion of the Windsors is really more of bemusement. I thought some Royals, like the Queen and Prince Charles, actually somewhat worthy of attention. I remember watching HRH the PoW read a story in his kilt on Jackanory, and he made some interesting comments about architecture… so no hatred from me. I wouldn’t gob on him, or his mum, or anyfink.

I thought that was against protocol except for sitting Prime Ministers.

I have no problem displaying an honorific within the cultural milieu that I am participating. I’d bow. It’d be part of the experience of meeting the Queen. When in Rome after all. Of course I guess not bowing could be part of the experience for you as well.

I’ve met one particular monarch of a non-European variety probably two, maybe three times. I have never bowed, and neither did anyone in my company. The protocol officer who accompanied this head of state advised us simply to address him as Your Majesty, which I didn’t find to be a problem.

I understand that theoretically she could require it, but then the monarchy would immediately be abolished.