The Queen Has a Go-To Move for Ending Handshakes That Go on Too Long

The Queen has a move Claire Foy calls the "shove back" for ending handshakes with royal fans that go on too long.

  • Even though she's known for being friend, Queen Elizabeth makes a point to draw a line between "friendly" and "friends" with the people she meets.
  • In his book Long Live the Queen! 13 Rules for Living from Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch (opens in new tab), royal author Bryan Kozlowski explains how the Queen manages to be friendly while still maintaining personal boundaries.
  • Actress Claire Foy, who played the Queen in the first two season of Netflix's The Crown, says the monarch is "the inventor of the 'shove back.' She really give you your hand back after you've met her." 

The Queen (opens in new tab) is a very friendly person, but that doesn't mean she wants to actually be friends with the thousands of people she meets and greets (opens in new tab).

Royal author Bryan Kozlowski (opens in new tab) breaks down the Queen's foolproof method for maintaining friendliness without sacrificing her own boundaries in his book Long Live the Queen! 13 Rules for Living from Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch (opens in new tab).

"The Queen can be incredibly friendly, but those who wish to ingratiate themselves as her new BFF quickly realize the insurmountable difference between royal friendliness and friendship," Kozlowski writes. "Elizabeth doesn't like to confuse the two, becoming an expert at keeping her distance in the politest way possible."

BBC presenter and journalist Andrew Marr (opens in new tab) has even called the Queen Britain's "slightly mysterious Department of Friendliness," according to Kozlowski. Over the years, Queen Elizabeth has perfected her own tricks for achieving her "friendly but not "everybody's friend" balancing act.

"One of her most effective strategies simply lies in the way she shakes people's hands," Kozlowski writes. "Those who clasp on to the royal glove too long will find their own hand promptly returned to them."

Actress Claire Foy (opens in new tab), who played Elizabeth in the first two seasons of Netflix's hit royal drama The Crown (opens in new tab), has described the Queen's penchant for ending inappropriately-long handshakes.

"She's the inventor of the 'shove back,'" Foy said, according to Long Live the Queen. "She really give you your hand back after you've met her."

Definitely a royal lesson we could all stand to learn.

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Kayleigh Roberts
Kayleigh Roberts

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.