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Royal wedding tips: Michelle Obama, Miley Cyrus might not be the best manners models

April 25, 2011 |  4:49 pm

Prince William and Kate Middleton

As Kate Middleton and Prince William's wedding draws near, we are reminded of the fact that being famous doesn't mean a celeb-type knows how to behave properly around royalty.

Consider: Miley Cyrus wore a cleavage-baring maxi dress to meet Queen Elizabeth II. Even First Lady Michelle Obama couldn't resist a tad-too-American cuddle at a royal photo-op.

When Lady Gaga doing a curtsy in red latex is looking like the classiest thing around, we believe there's room for improvement.

Queen Elizabeth II meets Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus If only "The King's Speech" had come out in advance of the 2009 Royal Variety Performance. If only Miley had caught Amanda Bynes and Colin Firth on cable at some point in 2003's "What a Girl Wants." Even "The Princess Diaries" star Anne Hathaway probably could have been tapped for some pointers.

As last-minute alterations, manicures and shoe-shining might make a last-minute dash to the nearest RedBox impractical,  Lisa Gaché, chief executive of Beverly Hills Manners, offers an etiquette refresher fit for A-list royal wedding guests such as Victoria and David Beckham -- or anyone who simply wishes they could buy a seat at the main event.

"The person who is of royalty should initiate the greeting," Gaché said. "The most respected greeting for the gentlemen is a slight nod from the neck. For the women, a small curtsy by placing the right foot behind the left with a slight bend in the knees."

This is not a business meeting. One shouldn't initiate a handshake, she said, but of course he or she should follow through if the queen extends her hand. Include that motion with your nod or curtsy.

Michelle Obama meets Queen Elizabeth II with a hug So, what does a commoner say while meeting a royal?

"When you do address the queen, for the first time she is addressed as Her Royal Majesty," Gaché said. "In subsequent greetings, she's addressed as Ma'am." After a person is introduced to the queen with "May I present," the proper formal response would be, "How do you do?"

Beyond the queen, things get a little more complicated. Says Gaché: A "prince or a princess is referred to as 'Your Royal Highness.' From there, you have the dukes and duchesses. They're addressed as 'Your Grace' or just 'Duke' or 'Duchess.' And the subsequent greetings for them are Sir or Ma'am."

All this while dealing with bubbly and appetizers?

It can get a bit nerve-wracking, which is why a formal event such as the royal wedding, with so many rules, will have specialists on hand to remind guests how to properly handle the exchange, Gaché said.

No word, however, on whether these specialists are included in the wedding head count.


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Royal wedding memorabilia: Owning a slice of Prince William and Kate Middleton's big day

-- Whitney Friedlander

Top photo: Prince William and Kate Middleton. Credit: Tim Hales / Associated Press

Middle photos: Queen Elizabeth II greets Lady Gaga, left, and Miley Cyrus, right, after the Royal Variety Performance in December 2009. Credit: Leon Neal / AFP/Getty Images.

Bottom photo: There was "a mutual and spontaneous display of affection" when the queen and Michelle Obama first met at Buckingham Palace in April 2009. Credit: Associated Press