Canada’s Governor General touches British Queen’s arm in breach of royal protocol

Published: 12:05 GMT, Jul 21, 2017 |

The Governor General of Canada admitted breaking royal protocol by touching the arm of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth during an engagement in London on Wednesday (July 19), though he said the gesture was motivated by gallantry.

David Johnston, who is the British queen’s representative in Canada where she is head of state, took Elizabeth by the elbow as she descended red-carpeted stairs outside London’s Canada House following an event to celebrate 150 years of Canadian independence.

Johnston told he was aware of the protocol but breached it to prevent the queen from stumbling as the carpet outside Canada House was slippery.

The royal family’s official website states that “there are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting the Queen or a member of the Royal Family” but suggests people might wish to observe “traditional forms”.

In breaching the unspoken rules of behaviour when meeting the monarch, Johnston joined the likes of former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama when she hugged the Queen in 2012, ex-French President Jacques Chirac who appeared to touch the monarch when she visited a Parisian market in 2004 and former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating who put his arm around the queen’s shoulders in 1992.