PM Timothy Harris breaks etiquette and protocol at Buckingham Palace State Dinner
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Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 25, 2018 – Kittitians and Nevisians at home and abroad including the United Kingdom are expressing shock and embarrassment and making fun at the failure of the Federation’s Prime Minister to observe proper etiquette at Buckingham Palace.
Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris was among the 53 Presidents and Prime Ministers invited by Her Majesty the Queen to a State Dinner at Buckingham Palace as part of the formal Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting activities.
According to the British Monarchy website, while there are “no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting the Queen,” many people prefer to “observe the traditional forms.”
“For ladies, that includes a small curtsy when meeting the monarch, while for the men it is a ‘neck bow,’ from the head only.” Alternatively, it notes, “some opt to shake her hand.”
But Dr. Harris obviously departed from the rules by holding on to the right hand of Her Majesty, with both hands.
“He obviously broke the rules. Guests to Buckingham Palace usually receive written information or a briefing regarding dress, decorum, do’s and dont’s. Buckingham Palace is a stickler for etiquette and protocol,” said a person known to be a veteran in international relations and diplomacy.
“But that handshake, using both hands and obviously holding on to Her Majesty’s right hand is a no, no. That was a serious breach of etiquette and of protocol. The manner in which he bowed and having to look up at the same time was not in keeping with the guidelines,” said the individual, who pointed to that other Heads “observed the etiquette and the protocol.”
“To me it was an embarrassment not only for our Prime Minister and to us as nationals and citizens of our beloved St. Kitts (and Nevis) in the presence of so many persons of high rank and influence,” the individual said.
There is the “no-touch” rule, for example. The Queen’s visitors have to wait until she extends her hand to take it, and they are not supposed to grip it tightly or pump it, said Rachel Kelly, a public relations executive at VisitBritain, the U.K.’s official tourism office. No hugs, no kiss on the cheek, no touching the shoulder, which is why the “Queen’s gesture comes as a surprise
“A shapeless, tasteless, classless, clueless (Prime Minister) Timothy Harris, lacks even the slightest of protocol in the presence of the Queen. Jacket open, hand in pocket, tie pin wrong place, tie not fixed properly – all he wanted to do is anchor himself near the “Queen, standing in front of the camera while the Que meeting the other prime ministers,” said Bernard Jefferson in reaction to another photo posted on FaceBook.
“That’s the difference in learning how to dress classy and how to carry oneself properly. He needs to be thought. Didn’t someone explain to him what he should be doing? Doesn’t he know what protocol is all about when meeting Her Majesty?” said another.
“Tell me PM that he should button his jacket when standing and he should keep his tie straight. Additionally, tell him that leaders wear ties of solid colours that signify the mood of the nation. Jamaica’s PM wore green. St. Lucia’s wore blue. Ours wore a mixed message that wouldn’t stay still on his girth,” wrote another.
Another also pointed to prime minister Harris being referred to as St. Kitts and Nevis’ High Commissioner to London, by a BBC television journalist during an interview seen by millions around the world.
“When you don’t look the part, they recognise you as something you’re not. Poor fellow ain’t look prime ministerial up to now,” L.V., a well-known national, posted on Facebook.
Photo 1 – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris in a breech of etiquette and protocol uses both hands to greet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at State Dinner at Buckingham Palace.
Photo 2 – – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris in a breech of etiquette at State Dinner at Buckingham Palace.
Photo 3 – Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister Hon. Keith Rowley greets Queen Elizabeth
Photos showing adherence to protocol