Hosting a Royal visit

Guidance and advice to help your visit go smoothly

It is usual for the Lieutenancy Officer to visit and discuss protocol and give guidance to help you produce a draft programme.

Once the date of the visit has been confirmed, you should submit a detailed draft programme to the Lieutenancy Office. This programme should be a step-by-step guide to what HRH will be seeing, doing and who they will be meeting during the visit, and ideally timings broken up into 5 or 10 minute slots. An example programme can be provided to assist you.

Local Civic Dignitaries will usually be invited to the visit and the Lieutenancy Office will advise you on who these will be. Civic dignitaries are presented to HRH on arrival and stay for the duration of the visit as your guests. They do not accompany the Royal party but need to be hosted separately by your organisation.

The following must be included in the programme:

  • Full name, including title, and job title of person escorting HRH throughout the visit, and key people they will meet.
  • Any particular request, ie unveiling a plaque, signing visitors’ book, receiving a posy, presenting prizes, speaking etc. should be applied for straight away. This has to be approved by the Royal Household. Once the programme is approved it is not possible to make any further requests.
  • The draft wording for a plaque should be sent to the Lieutenancy Office for approval by the Royal Household. The wording must be approved prior to commissioning.
  • Details of how many guests HRH will meet in each room/area. HRH can generally meet approximately 100 people per hour, ideally in groups of 10 with a leader for each of the groups.
  • It is wise to factor in 'opportunity to retire' either at the beginning or the end of the visit.

This is a meeting and site visit at your premises to review the draft programme for the visit.

This usually involves a member of the Lieutenancy Team, Hampshire Police, a Personal Protection Officer (PPO) and a member of the Programme Team from HRH Office.

Following the recce, you will revise your programme as agreed and this detailed programme needs to be submitted to the Royal Household via the Lieutenancy Office, for final approval.

Briefing pack

Prior to the visit you will need to submit a briefing pack to the Lieutenancy Office, which should include:

  • a general background brief on the organisation and the purpose of the visit. Mention if HRH has visited before.
  • if a short speech has been requested, short speech bullet points. Speeches are only given in support of a charity or if there is a clear message to deliver. When submitting speech notes, include details of the author and their job title.
  • short, one paragraph biographies on the key people involved with the visit indicating if they have met HRH before.
  • seating plans (if applicable).

Members of the Royal family do not often stop for refreshments, but you will be advised of any special requirements. Refreshments do help with creating an atmosphere during a visit and are appreciated by all attending.

If a visit spans lunchtime you will be advised on requirements.

Photographs, press and publicity

If you are interested in taking in-house photographs during the visit, this should be raised with the Royal Household representative at the recce.

If you wish to contact the local press to cover your visit, you can do so. Please allocate a member of your staff to escort them for the duration. Please contact the Royal communications office switchboard on 020 7930 4832 if you have any queries regarding press releases and media coverage or would like some help with publicising your event.

On the programme, please state the exact dress code for the visit. In general these are as follows: Day Dress/Lounge Suit, Cocktail Dress/Black Tie or Long Dress. Obviously there are exceptions: Uniform, White Tie, Medals for example. When touring a factory, HRH may be asked to wear protective clothing. If there is an event outdoors, please advise on flat shoes or boots.

Please be aware that the visit should be treated as confidential until it appears in the ‘Diary’ section of the Royal Family website.

We understand how difficult it is to keep a visit confidential especially when sending out invitations. You could initially ask your guests to make a note of the date and venue, stating that further details will follow in due course. You will be asked at the recce about your security plans, such as checking invitations.


There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting HM The King 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.

On presentation to The King or Queen Consort, the correct formal address is 'Your Majesty' and subsequently 'Sir' or 'Ma'am' (to rhyme with jam).

For male members of the Royal Family the same rules apply, with the title used in the first instance being 'Your Royal Highness' and subsequently 'Sir'.

For other female members of the Royal Family the first address is conventionally 'Your Royal Highness' followed by 'Ma'am' in later conversation.

The correct form of address for the Lord-Lieutenant is:

  • Written: Nigel Atkinson Esq, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire
  • Salutation: Dear Lord-Lieutenant,
  • In a speech preamble: Lord-Lieutenant.
  • Conversation: Initially Lord-Lieutenant, thereafter Mr Atkinson or Sir