Canadian Official Causes Media Firestorm After Touching Queen

July 20, 2017 Updated: July 20, 2017

Canada’s Governor General David Johnston gently touched Queen Elizabeth II in an apparent breach of royal protocol, creating a media frenzy in the U.K.

“Canada’s Governor General blames ‘slippy’ carpet for royal protocol breach,” read the BBC’s headline, while the Daily Mail said, “Governor-General breaks royal protocol by TOUCHING the Queen.”

Johnston was seen gently helping the Queen down the stairs in an apparent attempt to prevent her from slipping.

“I was just anxious to be sure there was no stumbling on the steps,” Johnston told Canadian broadcaster CBC.

“It’s a little bit awkward, that descent from Canada House to Trafalgar Square, and there was carpet that was a little slippy, and so I thought perhaps it was appropriate to breach protocol just to be sure that there was no stumble,” he added.

According to the Royal Family’s official website, there are “no obligatory codes of behavior” during a meeting with the Queen.

In 2009, when then-First Lady Michelle Obama embraced Queen Elizabeth, the gesture triggered another frenzy in the British media. Buckingham Palace later said that there was no breach of protocol.

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Johnston also gave her a Sapphire Jubilee brooch to mark her 65 years of reign.