These Are The Only People Who Can Visit The Queen Uninvited

The British royal family is perhaps the most highly reported royal family in the world (via the Times Of India). From the troubled marriage and eventual passing of Princess Diana to the media frenzy that started after the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, members of the British monarchy are used to living life under the intense scrutiny of the public eye, per the BBC

Because of this, members of the royal family are subject to some strict etiquette rules that govern their behavior, speech, and even their outfits, the Independent reports. Those within the British monarchy begin etiquette training at a very young age. Speaking to People, Myka Meier from Beaumont Etiquette revealed that training usually starts "as soon as they're old enough to sit at a table." Meier revealed that young members of the royal family "are raised having formal meals, going to formal events and practicing everything from voice levels to dressing appropriately to even, of course, how to curtsy and bow." 

One major rule members of the royal family must adhere to is requesting access to visit her majesty the queen, because even those closest to her can't just go and come as they please in the palace.

Only a select few people can visit the Queen uninvited

The privilege of visiting Queen Elizabeth II without an invitation is only limited to members of the royal family who live in Buckingham Palace with her. However, there are protocols that must be followed at all times even within the queen's family circle, per Express. For example, there is a rule about not going to bed before the queen. That was one rule the late Princess Diana had a lot of trouble abiding by according to Sir William Heseltine, the former private secretary to the queen (via Business Insider). "For Diana the long royal evenings were agony," he revealed. "There'd be an hour or so in the sitting room of everyone sitting around making conversation. And Diana was driven to such extremes that she'd excuse herself and go to bed, which was thought to be rather bad form, going to bed before the queen."

The only other group of people permitted to see the queen without an official invite are those who have routine meetings with the queen. For example, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who engages in weekly meetings with the British monarch, per Royal

As one might expect, her majesty is a busy woman, not one you can just bump into outside her regular schedule of public appearances, the Daily Mail reports. And even though the grounds of Buckingham Palace are open to the public for tours, that happens only when the queen isn't living there, according to Visit London. So, your chances of meeting the queen during a guided tour of Buckingham Palace are very slim. 

What happens if you do find yourself invited to spend some time in the royal's company, though? 

Spending time with Queen Elizabeth is considered a privilege

Clearly, getting an audience or spending time in close quarters with Queen Elizabeth is considered a privilege. And that privilege comes with the expectation of certain behavioral codes.

According to the BBC, you are not to sit before the queen, nor are you to dig into your meal — if it's that kind of event — before the queen begins to eat. Actually, the ideal thing is to follow her lead at all times, up till the end of the meeting when the queen must take her leave before everyone else. But while courtesy demands that no one leaves before the queen, it is expected that guests or visitors must arrive before her at any gathering.

When introduced, the right way to address her is as "your majesty," and then "ma'am" after that first greeting which may be accompanied by a bow or a curtsy. Don't speak to the queen unless she speaks to you first, per Mirror. And while at a meal, the queen would ideally speak with the person on her right before the person on her left. Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton flouted this rule when he met with the queen and had to be politely corrected, according to BBC.

Even though Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth were pictured with arms placed around each other in a 2009 embrace (via Harper's Bazaar), touching the queen is still generally considered poor manners, per Reuters.

On a final note, most of these rules are not considered binding. BBC notes that, while most people stick to the formalities, breaking protocol won't result in punishment.