It could happen. You walk into a pub and there's Prince Harry. You attend a garden party and there's the Queen. In an attempt to help you keep your composure, following is royal meet & greet protocol. Try to follow it so as not to make all Americans look hopelessly backward.
How to bow or curtsy:
Men: Bow from the head only. This is called a neck bow.
Women: Do a small curtsy. This video shows proper execution.
Or: Simply shake hands in the usual way.
How to address members of the royal family:
The Queen: The correct formal address is to say 'Your Majesty' the first time, and then simply 'Ma'am' after that. Please note that ‘Ma’am’ does not rhyme with ‘jam.’ Say the American word 'mom' and you'll be close enough.
Male members of the Royal Family: use the title 'Your Royal Highness' first, then 'Sir'.
Other female members of the Royal Family: use 'Your Royal Highness' followed by 'Ma'am.'
Pay attention here because pecking order and status are just as important below stairs as above. Don’t even think of sitting wherever you want at the servants’ dinner table or talking back to the “superior” servants above you. It will not be pretty.
It's true that in England they speak English and that in America we speak English too.
But there are quite a few terms and expressions you might want to understand ahead of time.
Maybe practice up a little on your family and friends, especially with some of the wide variety of cuss words and insults.
This word is an exclamation of surprise. It means "Really? Wow! Amazing!"
"Bloody" is one of the most popular and useful swear words in England. You can say "bloody hell" when you mean "oh shit." Or "bloody marvellous" or "bloody awful" or "bloody" just about anything. It's a bloody handy little word.
This word comes from a word that is definitely not nice. I will not go into it here. People say "bugger it" when they're sick and tired of something; "bugger off" to tell someone to get lost; "lucky bugger" when something good happens to someone else; or "we're buggered" when their team is losing.
This may be the single most important piece of advice you get from this website.
Laugh if you want but this sign saved my neck (and the rest of my body) many times.
They drive on the bloody wrong side of the road in England.
Which means that every time you cross the dang street the dang cars are coming from the exact opposite direction you're expecting.
These signs remind you which way to look.
Thank you to local British city councils who make sure these signs are painted on the streets used frequently by tourists from countries where we drive on the correct side of the road.