Social Grace

Latecomers vs. Clock-watchers

That's some advice you might actually use. Now, as to your hypothetical question, one addresses Queen Elizabeth as "Your Majesty," not "Your Royal Highness," which is reserved for the "lesser" members of the royal family (Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Princess Margaret, for example).

What one personally thinks of the monarchy as an institution shouldn't necessarily affect how one treats individual representatives of a foreign country. Let's call a queen -- and the formal etiquette involved in communicating with her -- a symbol. As a country's flag is much more than a colored piece of cloth, a country's leader or monarch is more than a person, and ignoring expected protocol when dealing with her can be compared to mistreating a flag: not really harmful to anyone, but nonetheless powerfully insulting to people you don't know and probably don't wish to insult. If you could manage to look upon the queen as this kind of symbol, and treat her with the required formality as such, you might be better off.

That said, Social Grace doesn't like to meddle in others' politics, and we can agree that strongly held political convictions should not be compromised. If you have good reason to find Queen Elizabeth -- as a symbol, as a representative of her country, and as an individual -- too repugnant to be treated with the required formality, you would do best to keep yourself from her presence. When that royal invitation comes (and I promise you, Her Majesty almost never drops by unannounced), you must -- as a person who does not wish to be hypocritical -- decline it. Doing so should make a satisfyingly potent show of disapproval in a socially acceptable way. Refusal to engage is often the best way to deal with people we find so morally reprehensible that we can't treat them with the minimum of required courtesy.

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