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BACKWARD STEP; Bowing and scraping to Queen is banned by health and safety.


THE historic practice of walking backwards from the Queen has been banned on health and safety grounds.

For centuries, anyone leaving a room after seeing the monarch has been expected to bow or curtsy and then walk backwards until they are out of the door.

But royal aides have scrapped the tradition in case someone hurts themselves and then sues Buckingham Palace.


From now on, just two senior members of the Queen's household will observe the practice, along with the Lord Chancellor Jack Straw.

Mr Straw, the monarch's formal link with Parliament, will continue to walk backwards down the steps from the throne after presenting the words for the Queen's Speech.

A source said: "Allowing only two people in royal service to walk backwards was seen as a pragmatic solution to the health and safety issue." The custom is thought to date back to medieval times and for centuries it has been considered disrespectful to turn your back on the sovereign.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "Different traditions and practices have evolved over time."

The two members of staff who will still walk backwards are Charles Gray, the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps and Wing Commander Andy Calame, the Queen's equerry. But regal etiquette is not the only thing changing for the Royals. In light of the credit crunch and Her Majesty's call for "recessionary restraint," Princess Beatrice had a low-key 21st birthday celebration on Saturday by having a few drinks with friends.

When she turned 18, she had a pounds 500,000 Victorian-themed masked ball in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

However, if Saturday's party at a friend's house in Spain was frugal, the presents were not.

They included her own perfume called Beatrice, golf lessons with Nick Faldo, flying lessons, tank driving, white water rafting and racing in an Aston Martin and Ferrari. There has been growing concern over the high levels of royal spending, with the Queen last month slashing Prince Andrew's annual expenses by a third to pounds 140,000.

Earlier this year, it was revealed pounds 256,000 was spent refurbishing a flat at St James's Palace for Beatrice to live in while she studies history at university in London.

A POLICE force has refused to reveal how many of its officers guarding the Royal estate at Sandringham received miniature bottles of whisky from the Queen - claiming as it could provide "vital intelligence" to terrorists.

Norfolk Police confirmed a number of officers received the gifts at different times in the last year.

The force explained after receiving a Freedom of Information request that giving more detail would allow terrorists to work out how many people guarded the Royals.

But it did reveal four officers were given Christmas puddings and a chief inspector got a set of silver coasters. The Royal family has its Christmas break on the 20,000-acre estate.


RITUAL Queen and Jack Straw
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 10, 2009
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