Mayor Robertson breaks protocol guidelines by touching Prince Edward on the back - Photo by: Ward Perrin, PNG
About a month ago, CityCaucus.com 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.
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