April 1st, 2009
05:20 PM ET

Meeting Queen Elizabeth – protocol alert!

Editor's note: Richard Quest will answer any reasonable royal or G20 questions on Twitter @richardquest.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/01/art.geithner.queen.jpg caption="U.S. Treasury Secretary meets Queen Elizabeth II in London."]

Richard Quest
CNN International Correspondent

Did he or did she? Bow to the Queen that is!

Americans are often in a dither about whether or not they should give the traditional stiff bow from the neck, or a curtsy for women. It goes against the republican grain to make such a sign of respect to a monarch!

Of course there is absolutely no obligation for ANYONE - not even Brits these days - to bow to the Queen. It is not requested nor required. That was changed years ago.

When I met the Queen some years back, no one said a word about having to do it. But I did since I am a British national.

When President and Mrs. Obama met the Queen tonight, there was a handshake, and both the President and the Queen both nodded respectfully to each other.

Was it a bow? Not quite. It was more of a, "I know you are a head of state and so am I. We are both heads of state together and this is what heads of state do when they meet other heads of state." In other words they bow to each other without actually bowing.

However, Tim Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary was much more upfront about showing his respect to Her Majesty. A handshake and a firm nod of the head. No doubt about it. A sign of respect to one of the world's most respected heads of state.

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Yanitza Ramirez. Aventura,Florida.

    Anderson Cooper was wondering what he Queen carries in her little purses.Well,it has been said that she carries homeopathic Bach Flowers drops,because she is a strong believer of alternative medicine and homeopathic medicine.They come in tiny bottles and they keep you very relax under situations of stress.
    Perhaps that is the reason why at her age she enjoys great health and
    a tremendous amount of energy.
    Warm regards,
    Yanitza Ramirez.

    April 2, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  2. Kevin

    I heard they gave the Queen an Ipod.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  3. toadman

    Honestly, I'm a bit surprised that I didn't see a curstey from Michelle, but with today's "modernization" of the Monarchy, I'm not THAT surprised.

    Still, it would have been nice.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    There is too much American angst over the bow or curtsy to the Queen. Its just a sign of respect, and not a sign of subjectation. I admire the Queen and the way she has carried off the duties of her office for as long as she has been Queen – just as I admire the office of the Presidency. And even though times have changed and no one has to bow to her now even in her own country, I would feel bad-mannered if I didn't.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  5. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    I believe an acknowledgement of the office is required. Nothing more. Nothing less. The only person on this planet I would deem worthy enough to bow for right now is the Dalai Lama. Had Blessed Teresa and Pope John Paul II still been alive, I would have bowed for them as well. It's about respect for what the person does for the world, not what the title and bloodlines are.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:31 pm |