Taking a selfie with a member of the royal family may seem like an impossible dream for most people. Royals often appear unapproachable or distant when carrying out official duties. However, there are sometimes opportunities to capture that coveted selfie with a duke, duchess, prince or princess. It takes a bit of planning, etiquette knowledge and luck, but it can be done under the right circumstances.
Should you even attempt it?
Before trying for that selfie, you need to examine both your motivations and the appropriate etiquette. What’s your purpose in taking a photo with a royal? Is it simply to show off to friends that you met someone famous? Or do you hope to use the photo for promotional purposes and profit? Either motivation could backfire.
Royals don’t like to be used for commercial purposes without their consent. They also aim to interact sincerely with people, not just provide photo ops. So if your purpose is pure – you just sincerely admire the royal and want a memento – you have a better chance of succeeding with your request. But you still must follow proper etiquette.
When can you ask for a selfie?
Royal family members are most accessible to the public during walkabouts. This is when they greet crowds gathered during royal tours, visits or engagements. Walkabouts allow people to interact casually with royals, shake hands or exchange a few words. This provides the best opportunity to ask for a selfie.
However, it’s important not to interrupt serious interactions or conversations during a walkabout. Wait for an appropriate pause when the royal is finishing up with one person and turning to the next. Politely ask, “May I take a selfie with you?” Don’t demand or grab at the royal.
Should you ask the royal or an aide?
Ideally, you will very briefly and politely ask the royal member directly if you can take a selfie. However, there is royal protocol that dictates you should not address the monarch or heir to the throne without them speaking to you first.
In these cases, quietly ask a nearby aide if you may take a photo. They often politely defer the decision to the royal. If no aide is present and you cannot defer to the royal, just enjoy the interaction you have without worrying about a photo.
What if the royal says no?
There is a good chance your request for a selfie will be declined. Royals have tight schedules filled with serious obligations. They cannot accommodate every photo request without getting very behind schedule. If they say no, accept it gracefully.
Thank them for their time, wish them well, and keep the interaction positive. Don’t become frustrated or insist on the photo against their wishes. And never attempt to sneak one, as royal security will intervene. Accept their decision with understanding and maybe you can at least shake their hand.
What’s the appropriate way to take a royal selfie?
If the royal graciously agrees to your selfie request, properly compose yourself to capture the moment. Here are some tips:
- Thank them sincerely for agreeing to the photo.
- Keep your physical contact very brief, just standing shoulder to shoulder.
- Don’t put your arm around them or pull them close.
- Have your phone ready and composed so you don’t fumble around.
- Keep the photo session under 30 seconds so you don’t hold up the line.
- Don’t ask for multiple takes – you usually get just one.
Can you take a selfie with the Queen?
Taking a selfie with Queen Elizabeth herself is highly unlikely. She does not typically do walkabouts anymore due to her advanced age. When she did, selfies were not as popular and she was not asked for them often.
If the rare chance to ask Her Majesty for a selfie did occur, proper etiquette is essential. You would need to very politely ask an attending aide, not address the Queen directly without permission. If she does agree, keep in mind she is elderly. Be gentle, brief and respectful during the photo.
What are the best royal spots for potential selfies?
If you have hopes of snapping a royal selfie, your best chances come during these prime locations and events:
- Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard
- Royal weddings and celebrations in London
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s overseas tours and engagements
- Princess Kate’s charity events
- Prince William’s environmental initiatives
- Prince Charles’ public receptions
Research the schedules and potential walkabout opportunities at these events. Arrive early to secure a good spot with a clear view. Bring your fully charged phone and a backup battery. Then wish for that magic royal selfie moment!
What should you do before and after your royal selfie?
If you are lucky enough to capture that selfie with a royal, continue to exercise proper etiquette. Before and after the photo:
- Thank the royal sincerely for their time.
- Wish the royal well with their duties or events.
- Step aside promptly so others can interact.
- Do not attempt long conversations or second photos.
- Do not immediately post the photo across social media.
- Wait to share the special photo on your own social media later.
Following this etiquette shows your gratitude and respect for the royal after they gracefully took time for your photo.
Can your royal selfie be used commercially?
You may want to leverage your rare royal selfie for commercial gain. However, be very careful about using royal images without permission. You do have the right to post the selfie on your personal social media. But beyond that, additional usage rights get murky.
You cannot use the photo for advertising purposes, commercial merchandise, political campaigns or offensive content. Your safest option is to just keep your royal selfie as a cherished personal memento. Be sure to tell everyone the story of how you captured that special royal moment!
|Royal Family Member||Likelihood of Allowing a Selfie|
|Queen Elizabeth II||Very Unlikely|
|Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge||Possible|
|Meghan, Duchess of Sussex||Possible|
Top tips for getting a royal selfie
If you want the best chance at capturing that sought-after royal selfie, keep these key tips in mind:
- Study royal schedules and know their walkabout times.
- Arrive extremely early to secure a good spot.
- Have your phone ready with the camera cued up.
- Politely and briefly ask for the photo.
- Don’t approach royals surrounded by aides or in serious conversation.
- Take the photo quickly in 30 seconds or less.
- Thank the royal sincerely and step aside for others.
- Never attempt to sneak photos or chase after departing royals.
- Accept graciously if your request is declined.
Should you bring a selfie stick?
While selfie sticks can help you capture the perfect group shot, they are not a good idea for royal selfies. Selfie sticks are banned from many royal events for security reasons. They also create an informal, intrusive vibe that is frowned upon around royals.
Keep your royal selfie simple by just standing briefly beside the royal. Crop or zoom the image later if needed. Avoid the temptation to bring a selfie stick or any other conspicuous photography equipment.
Is there official protocol against royal selfies?
There are no official written rules that prohibit taking selfies with members of the royal family. However, etiquette experts and royal commentators strongly discourage it. This is why selfies rarely occur.
The royals aim to remain dignified icons representing the monarchy. Posing for frequent smartphone photos can diminish their esteemed stature. It can also disrupt serious duties. So while not outright banned, selfies are strongly discouraged.
Should you bow or curtsey before your royal selfie?
Meeting a royal face to face is a very rare honor. While you do not need to go overboard, showing respect is recommended. The preferred way is to simply address them initially as “Your Royal Highness.”
A very brief curtsey for women or neck bow for men is also appropriate. Avoid overt fawning over the royal. Just be gracious and thank them sincerely for their time as you position for the quick photo.
Can your royal selfie get you in legal trouble?
There are some scenarios where that treasured royal selfie could land you in legal hot water. Avoid potential lawsuits or prosecution by:
- Not commercially profiting from the photo without palace permission.
- Not photoshopping it in a demeaning or slanderous way.
- Not using it to imply a political endorsement.
- Promptly complying if palace officials request removing it.
As long as you keep your cherished picture for strictly personal use, you should have no worries. Just don’t exploit the selfie for financial, political or unethical reasons.
Are there royal selfie tips for kids?
Children often get more leeway with royal etiquette than adults. Royals delight in interacting warmly with little kids. Here are some selfie tips for the younger set:
- Parents should coach children to ask politely for a photo.
- Kids can address royals simply by “ma’am”, “sir” or their title.
- Skip the bow or curtsey – a bright smile will charm royals.
- Let the tallest person hold the camera up high.
- Have parents pick up smaller kids so all fit in the shot.
The key for kids is looking excited, not nervous! Royals love seeing happy, enthusiastic little faces beam in photos.
Capturing the perfect royal selfie is a rare privilege. With proper etiquette and the right event, your chances improve. But the opportunity may not arise. If it does, stay gracious, brief and respectful. Cherish the royal selfie, but use it only for personal memory-making. Be prepared to walk away with just a handshake, but no photo. And if you do succeed in snapping that selfie, enjoy knowing you created a truly once-in-a-lifetime memento!