Canada's governor general says he decided to breach royal protocol and touch Queen Elizabeth II to ensure she didn't stumble down slippery steps during an official engagement in London. David Johnston, who met with the 91-year-old monarch on Wednesday to mark Canada's 150th birthday, was seen gently touching her elbow as she ascended steps at London's Canada House. He did the same as she left the building. It's generally accepted that members of the public don't touch the queen, reports the AP. While he's "certainly conscious of the protocol," Johnston told CBC News "it's a little bit awkward, that descent from Canada House to Trafalgar Square."
He continues, "There was a carpet that was a little slippy, and so I thought perhaps it was appropriate" in order to avoid a potential stumble. The National Post's take: "As a protocol violation, Johnston's was minor, barely noticeable except to the initiated. It is not as if he put his arm around her, as many people have enthusiastically done over the years, notably Michelle Obama." It notes the traditional greeting is a bow of the head for men, a slight curtsy for women. Johnston is the queen's rep in Canada; when his term ends in September, former astronaut Julie Payette is to take his place, though her vetting hasn't been without drama.