A royal mix-up as wrong tapes used in radio adverts demote Her Majesty to princess


FÁILTE IRELAND yesterday admitted “the wrong tapes” were used for national radio advertisements promoting Queen Elizabeth’s forthcoming visit to Ireland.

The State tourism body inadvertently downgraded the Queen to princess level by referring to her as “Her Royal Highness” rather than “Her Majesty”.

The advert was aired “by accident” on various stations including RTÉ Radio 1 during the Morning Irelandprogramme.

The error also appeared on the Discover Ireland website which said that “HRH Queen Elizabeth II will make an official visit to Ireland”.

A Fáilte Ireland spokeswoman said the mistake had been “spotted” and a new version of the ad recorded. New tapes were “on their way to radio stations”. The Discover Ireland website

was amended by early afternoon yesterday to refer to “HM Queen Elizabeth II”. Newspaper ads which began to appear yesterday were “corrected in time and got it right” by referring to the Queen as “Her Majesty”.

The campaign has been designed to promote Ireland by highlighting the visits this month of both the Queen and US president Barack Obama.

In British royal protocol, the monarch is referred to as HM (Her or His Majesty) while HRH (His or Her Royal Highness) is used by princes and princesses.

The use of the term HRH was a source of controversy in 1996 when the Prince and Princess of Wales divorced and Diana was no longer allowed to retain the style of “Her Royal Highness”.

A similar fate befell Sarah Ferguson when her marriage to Prince Andrew ended. She was forced to drop the title “HRH The Duchess of York” and was restyled “Sarah, Duchess of York”.

For those planning to meet the royal visitors, according to official British government guidelines: “On presentation to the Queen, the correct formal address is ‘Your Majesty’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am’.”

HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh, should be addressed as “Your Royal Highness” and subsequently “Sir”.

The guidelines navigate the tricky area of non-verbal communication and point out: “There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting the Queen or a member of the royal family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.

“For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.”