Lewis Hamilton recalled Queen’s reaction as he fumbled royal protocol sitting next to her
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Sir Lewis, 37, is hoping to make it a record nine Silverstone wins at the British Grand Prix on Sunday. The Mercedes driver can also break another record he holds – the most podiums at a single venue. The seven-time champion is currently tied with Michael Schumacher on 12 but could make it 13 with a top three finish. Hamilton was the fifth fastest in the third practice session on Saturday, while Max Verstappen was first.
Hamilton’s huge celebrity profile means that away from the track he has rubbed shoulders with a string of famous faces over the years.
Among them is Her Majesty the Queen, who the Mercedes driver once met at a private lunch, the year after he was given an MBE.
Hamilton, who was also knighted by her son Prince Charles in December 2021, fumbled over the royal protocol as he sat next to the monarch back in 2010.
He was asked about his embarrassing encounter with the Queen on ‘The Graham Norton Show’ in 2015.
Asked by Mr Norton if Her Majesty knew anything about Formula One, Hamilton replied: “She actually did.
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“When she was talking to me there, she was saying, ‘We watch you’.”
He continued: “But the best thing is, I got invited back, a year later for lunch with a group.
“There were about eight of us and I turned up after the Brazilian Grand Prix, came back and walked in.
“I saw the seating plan and I was sitting right next to her, and I was kind of excited. I was like, ‘This is cool’.
“So, I sat down, and she was to my right, and I started to talk to her.
“She was like, ‘You speak that way first and I’ll speak this way and I’ll come back to you’.”
Despite his royal faux pas, Hamilton appeared to get on well with the Queen, and the pair chatted for the remainder of the lunch.
He said: “She spoke to the guy next to her for like five minutes and then she spent the rest of the time talking to me.
“It was really, really cool.”
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Biographer and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, Ingrid Seward, explained the dining etiquette of Her Majesty and the late Prince Philip in her 2017 book, ‘My Husband and I: The Inside Story of 70 Years of the Royal Marriage’.
She wrote: “The Queen always chooses who she wants to sit beside.
“And this most important male guest will be on her right, while Prince Philip has the most interesting female guest on his right.
“Surprisingly, she does not sit at the head of the table in these scenarios, instead sitting in the centre, opposite Prince Philip.
“Throughout the first and second courses the Queen talks to the person on her right.
“While the pudding and cheeses are being eaten, she turns automatically and chats to the guest on her left.”
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