The British royal family are renowned for their love of the regal walkabout and meet and greet, but there’s one royal who reportedly has a deep disdain for shaking any member of the public’s hand.
Harper’s Bazaar reports that Princess Anne is the only royal who doesn’t shake hands during walkabouts. And apparently, back in the day none of the blue-blooded breed cared to get physical with the rank and file.
In days of old when knights were bold and members of the royal family rarely ventured forth from the seclusion of their ivory towers, the general public was “lucky to get a fleeting glimpse of the royal family as they drove by.”
This all changed in the 1970s when Princess Anne’s mother Queen Elizabeth II turned on the charm and began interacting in a big way.
Crowd pleaser Queen Elizabeth II has an almost innate ability to gauge what the plebeians go crazy for, and one of the things the swarming hordes enjoy most is to shake hands with their betters.
In a video clip from ITV’s Queen of the World, Princess Anne explained that Her Majesty began the arduous task of greeting and rubbing skin with well-wishers during the royal engagements of the 1970s.
A narrator from the TV show explains how the Queen wanted to shake things up and say hello to her people. Hence the concept of the walkabout was born.
Princess Anne explained, “It’s become a shaking hands exercise rather than a walkabout.”
The 68-year-old royal also added ruefully, “We never shook hands. The theory was that you couldn’t shake hands with everybody, so don’t start. So I kind of stick with that, but I noticed others don’t,” she added with a laugh.
On the same TV show, Princess Anne turns her attention to the myriad ills of social media and how they’ve damaged public interaction in a big way.
The royal would appear to have a particular bee in her bonnet about talking to people whose attention span is elsewhere due to their obsession with capturing every moment and documenting every exchange on their iPhones or iPads.
“Phones are bad enough, but the iPads – you can’t even see their heads. No idea who you’re talking to. I either don’t bother or just say, ‘Look, if you want to ask… I suggest you put that down.’
“It is weird. People don’t believe they’ve experienced the event unless they’ve taken a photograph.”