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Q: British Royal Protocol - Who enters the room first? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: British Royal Protocol - Who enters the room first?
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: kyraeh-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 14 Sep 2003 09:22 PDT
Expires: 14 Oct 2003 09:22 PDT
Question ID: 255717
What's the correct British Royal Protocol?

There's a semi-formal meeting between the Queen of England and a group
of guests.  Attending the meeting will be the Queen, the Prince
Consort, the queen's children, including the Prince of Wales, and the

What is the protocol on who would enter the room first?  I am assuming
that the guests are already in the reception room.
Subject: Re: British Royal Protocol - Who enters the room first?
Answered By: hlabadie-ga on 15 Sep 2003 14:55 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
On the occasion described, Her Majesty the Queen and the Prince
Consort would enter first, followed by the Prince of Wales, the other
Princes in the order of their birth, and the grandchildren, led by
Prince William, followed by Prince Harry by rule of succession, with
the other grandchildren following by order of birth.

The order of precedence was settled by the House of Lords in 1539,
although the monarch retains the right to make such alterations as
seem fitting.

Note, Princess Anne takes precedence over Prince William.

Burke's Peerage
Precedence Introduction

"Precedence concerns itself with such matters as the order in which
people go in to dinner, leave the dinner table, march in procession
(though here people usually move in reverse order of precedence, the
least to the fore, the most important to the rear), are announced at
gatherings or are listed in an official description of some ceremonial
function. But there are various tables of precedence: social,
official, political, local, ecclesiastical, legal, military."
"The most authoritative statement on precedence so far was the order
for 'the placynge of Lordes and Ladyes' called the 'Precedence of
Great Estates in their owne degres' of 1520.
In 1539 the House of Lords Precedence Act was passed, settling the
pecking order of the Great Officers of State and peers. Although HENRY
VIII was thus the first sovereign to use Parliament to settle the
matter, he declared he was merely confirming the law of precedence. He
did, however, announce in the Bill's preamble that it was entirely
within the royal prerogative to 'give such honour, reputation, and
placing to his Councillors and others his subjects as should be
seeming to THE KING'S Most excellent wisdom'."


"1-The Sovereign.

2-The Duke of Edinburgh. A royal warrant of 15 September 1952 decreed
that he should take  precedence immediately after his wife and
Sovereign 'except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament'
[3-The Queen Mother.]

4-The Prince of Wales, or the eldest son of the Sovereign if not yet
created Prince of Wales.

5-The Princess of Wales, where such exists.

6-The Duke of York. [Prince Andrew]

7-The Duchess of York, where a current wife of the Duke of York

8-Prince Edward. [aka Edward Wessex]

9-The Princess Royal. [Princess Anne] (Capt Tim Laurence derives no
official position in the table of precedence from his wife, but in
practice if he were attending a function with her he assigned a
precedence commensurate with hers.)

10-The grandsons of the Sovereign, in order of age if born of the same
two parents, and according to the laws of primogeniture generally.
Thus Prince William would take precedence of:

11-Prince Harry.

12-Princess Beatrice of York.

13-Princess Eugenie of York.

14-Peter Phillips.

15-Zara Phillips."

The Monarchy also maintains a WWW site:

Royal Insight



kyraeh-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Thank you!

Subject: Re: British Royal Protocol - Who enters the room first?
From: nautico-ga on 14 Sep 2003 10:22 PDT
I offer the following on the basis of having served 20 years as a US
Navy officer, three of which in a protocol-intensive assignment at our
embassy in Nassau, Bahahas. The overarching purposes of protocol are
a) to show appropriate respect to persons of varying rank and b)to
make all parties feel comfortable. The latter is usually more
important than the former. In the case you cite, the Queen would enter
the room first and for the same reason that our president is the first
to exit Air Force One. She is the highest ranking person present and
the principal object of interest. Her family would follow her into the
Subject: Re: British Royal Protocol - Who enters the room first?
From: owain-ga on 14 Sep 2003 11:50 PDT
There is a brief listing of the British order of precedence at

Subject: Re: British Royal Protocol - Who enters the room first?
From: nautico-ga on 14 Sep 2003 12:27 PDT
Orders of precedence don't reveal anything about the mechanics of
protocol in different situations, though they are certainly used in
codifying protocol. Most rules of protocol are nothing but common
sense: making people feel comfortable in their associations with
others, when all are part of the same hierarchy or belong to different
hierarchies. The objective is to orchestrate their behavior toward one
another such that predictability is assured and expectations are met.
The alternative is a kind of chaos in which people are fumbling
around, wondering what to do.

In August 1973 on the night before The Bahamas became independent from
Great Britain, I had occasion to have dinner with Prince Charles in
Nassau at a table for four: HRH, his Royal Marine equerry, my wife,
and I. The protocol was simple: on introduction to HRH, I said nothing
more than "your royal highness, it's a pleasure to meet you." I
thereafter called him "sir." The amusing irony of our brief
relationship was that Charles was then a lieutenant in the Royal Navy,
I a USN lt. commander, and so I outranked him! We proceeded to have a
spirited discussion about the wisdom of permitting alcohol on Royal
Navy ships, a debate I believe I won. The bottom line, though, is that
it was well understood protocol that made that encounter a comfortable
Subject: Re: British Royal Protocol - Who enters the room first?
From: hlabadie-ga on 05 Oct 2003 21:02 PDT
Thanks for the tip and the rating.


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