Protocol staff cringe as Mayor Robertson touches Prince Edward

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Prince Edward with Gregor Robertson
Mayor Robertson breaks protocol guidelines by touching Prince Edward on the back - Photo by: Ward Perrin, PNG

About a month ago, released a confidential copy of the City of Vancouver's official protocol manual which outlines a series of best practices when handling official delegations. It was a detailed manual that cost thousands of dollars to produce and its content caught the attention of the international media. The guide is meant to prevent public officials from making a gaffe while in the presence of dignitaries.

You don't get any more "dignitary" than the Royal family. As part of his 2010 Paralympic duties, Prince Edward visited Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson yesterday. During the media photo op the two gentlemen shook hands. However, it appears the Mayor made a major breach of protocol by touching his Royal Highness on the back (see photo above).

According to the official city protocol handbook:

Incorrect Ways to Shake Hands: On protocol assignments and in business situations, it is not common to double-clasp (put your left hand over a persons right hand), or put your hand on the other person’s shoulder.

handshake-incorrect Page 37 of the handbook actually provides full details regarding how to conduct a proper handshake including a photo of how not to touch official dignitaries. Clearly the Mayor was not staying up late at night reading the protocol manual, as it would appear he made a bit of a gaffe on this one. Expect this breach of protocol photo to show up in the British tabloids before you know it!

Just when you thought the Mayor might need to shore up his protocol support, word is Robertson is actually shutting down the protocol office. The office is slated to close within the next few months as part of a budget cutting exercise. Based on his recent performance, he just may want to reconsider.

- post by Daniel


Mayor 'touches' Prince Edward on the back as an example why C.Caucus doesn't like the Mayor? Seriously? ... Seriously?

@Will. You may want to consider purchasing a sense of humour at some point in the near future.

This has nothing to do about liking or disliking the mayor. It has everything to do with the fact that City employees were trained on how to handle dignitaries, then the mayor ignores his own guidelines.

The post is done in classic CityCaucus style...with a bit of humour and tongue firmly in cheek.

My best advice is that you chill a bit and don't be so "...Serious...Serious".

I agree that while this does rank up there with Trudeau's pirouette behind the Queen, it does show that Robertson is a goof. I hear he also snorted milk through his nose when the Prince joked about the City Hall bee hives - but that's third hand information.

oops saw my typo after hitting send -- 'does not' rank is what I meant.

I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this. Good on you guys for catching this. I agree it ain't a trudeau pirrouette, but it may get the attention of the brits. The royal watchers love this kind of stuff.

@ Will. The City of Vancouver spent $2 million on protocol, and budgeted their protocol handbook (which was secret until got a copy) cost in the six figures. The fact that they spent ALL that taxpayer dosh and then the Mayor screws up at the first opportunity, how does that make you feel now?

I love it when people think we should just put our blinkers on to this kind of stuff. The hypocrisy amazes me.

Can you hear the conversation?
Bubble Boy says, "We've got a Queen (Bee) at our house too". Seriously....Seriously....(those are for Will)

I think it shows that despite all the BS of protocol, Mayor Robertson is human. I'm sure Prince Edward couldn't have cared less. It was our manual, not his. As for the $ spent on a protocol manual - ummm perhaps we have other needs. (Like the stop sign outside our house that needs to change to a four way stop.)

I should think Greg is safe from the British media as Edward is far from being their favourite royal. However, ridiculous as these protocol guides may often be, it is fair to remember that if you're someone like the Queen it would start being really unpleasant if you were getting hugs, slaps on the back, bone crushing handshakes etc. from complete strangers every day.

The caption should read:

Edward: "Hello, I'm Prince Edward!"
Mayor " I love your Island, man! Watzzup!"

It appears to me that they have a genuine rapport, in which the handshake and the placing of Robertson's hand on the outside elbow or upper arm is signifying that rapport. Can only bode well for BC and British relations.

hey - at least the Prince wasn't stung by a bee!

Oh please - this self titled "prince" is nothing special - he's only a rich human. The "royal" family has done nothing to benefit society, and everything to continue, with the help of others, to continue the myth of their superiority (and by extension, of all elites).

Protocol is protocol, a lot of our money was spent preparing a manual on typical that Gregor would snub it ...... because he felt as if he was above it. How arrogant, and disrespectful. What our Mayor needs to understand, these people are not his college pals or Cortes Island hippies.This is the Royal family ,and there are rules we all are expected to respect and follow....but what can you expect from a Mayor that decided to charge Legions rent.( not sure if he backed down on that decision, but if you know please post for me)
If he planed to flaunt those rules,and has trouble with boundaries, can he pay back the cost of the protocol manual, preferably from his own pocket.

Protocol rules exist to keep our society civilized....and Gregor did request the manual was produced to ensure that no city staff embarrassed Vancouver during the Olympics. At least Sam made us proud when he waved the flag in Turin.
Gregor indulged himself, as a child will.

Another example of not being a good leader. Hard to train old dogs new tricks.

as an owner of an old dog I have to object. I did once know a dog that had been kicked in the head by horse - he could not learn new tricks.

Self appointed Prince?? you are obviously someone that was denied an education. He just didn't decide to self appoint, he was born a prince.They teach this in elementary school in Canada... or are you from another country.
Ignorance is not always bliss, sometime it just shows, you just don't get what history is about .... or did the world only start to exist when you where born?
Only your Mother believes that...

And the royal family is relevant because...?

Robertson: "Mr Highness. I'm so pleased to meet you. Have you seen my vegetable garden and bee hive on the front lawn yet?"

His Highness: "Excuse me. But where did the guy in the wheelchair who took the Olympic flag go? Are you really the Mayor? And by the way, could you please stop touching my back"

Robertson: "Yes. I know the last time you we here that guy was the mayor, but times change. That was then, this is now"

His Highness: "But I am here to celebrate the Paralympics, and I thought the Mayor was still in a wheelchair? Who the heck are you? Did you really boot him out?"

Robertson: "Did I tell you about a great place named Hollyhock on Cortez Island. You and your wife would just love it"

Wow I didn't know that the Royals were untouchable! LOL
Maybe that etiquette manual was too hard for our First Grade Mayor. LOL again.

What a startling revelation! No one can fail to see the gravity of Gregor's offence (except, of course, for deluded leftists--grrr!!).

Notice that Gregor is touching the Prince with his left hand. Grrrrr!!

PS: I love your site--a welcome refuge from left-wing rags like the Vancouver Sun and the National Post. Also love Fox News.

Sorry...joining the conversation a bit late.

Which one is the queen???

This is the best the NPA braintrust can do?

@ Ian. We'll give the NPA guys & gals a call and ask them.

They are very relevant,invited guests to our Country, during the Paralympics.
That is the protocal of their Country and has been for a very long time(read your history).It is called Tradition.
Who are we to tell our guests that their protocols,traditions culture are not relevant. Especially during the Paralympics paid for with some of my tax dollars.
This isn't High School, this is the World stage.
By the way, what country does that Sir Richard, Virgin Airlines dude come from.... oh, I guess that would be the relevant part....

the majority dont care...who cares if the mayor touches his many in this society are soo stuck up; i agree that the mayor is only least he didnt hug his wife and grab her ....give me a break on making this a story...leave that to the british tabloids!

Right on Gregor for being yourself! He's a Prince and he's royalty but such protocol is archaic. Because he has the right blood lineage doesn't mean that he shouldn't get a pat on the back. Let's save commentary for something substantive then merely optics from a photo op.

By the way, if we aren't supposed to discriminate based on "race" (and mistakenly believed to be premised on biological differences) then why treat someone different because of their ancestry?

If Gregor was meeting a democratically elected head of state, yes protocol is important, but not for a Prince.

Jamie. Robertson!? Stop. Oinking.
M Gupta. You. Too!
This is not what you think it should have been done. Robertson already knew what should have been the etiquette... He asked for the Manual, you see?!
He wanted to behave like the City's Joker.
Why wouldn't you let him?

I am entertained that there are so many comments on this. This will not effect inter-state affairs with Great Britain, economic sanctions will not be placed, nor will a cold war break out. Let's take if for what it is. Gregor is human and sometimes when we meet people we do what we are used to doing naturally. I am sure Gregor read the manual, but let's comment on issues that matter to the city. Maybe all we have out of this is hurt egos that Gregor briefly gave him a pat on the back and stepped outside of protocol... mon dieu!

In earlier times, a real British Columbian would have referred to Gregor's extra grip as "The Full Zalm."

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