Why Princess Anne Doesn’t Shake Hands with the Public

Her reasoning sticks with royal tradition.

If you’re ever lucky enough to find yourself at a royal walkabout (an event where the royal family goes around and interacts the public), don’t expect a handshake from Princess Anne. It’s not that she doesn’t want to greet people; it’s just that she likes to stick with tradition. These are the times the royal family broke their own protocol.

Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s 69-year-old daughter, admits that walkabouts have changed a lot since the Queen first started them in the ’70s. In the HBO documentary, Queen of the World, Anne says that one of the things that have changed over the years is that members of the royal family will now shake people’s hands.

“We never shook hands,” Princess Anne says in the documentary. “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.”

Another aspect of walkabouts that Princess Anne doesn’t appreciate is technology. “Phones are bad enough, but the iPads—you can’t even see their heads,” she explained in the documentary. “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.'”

Princess Anne will happily talk to you, but make sure to keep your phone in your pocket. If you’re looking for a handshake and a picture, you might want to seek out Harry or Meghan. Next, check out these facts you didn’t know about the British royal family.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for rd.com, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.