It seems almost every public royal engagement involves a "walkabout," where members of the royal family meet well-wishers gathered on the streets. Princess Diana charmed fans with them, Princess Anne hated them, Kate Middleton has a knack for them, and Meghan Markle only started doing them at her first royal engagement last December.
It's hard to believe the routine didn't even exist almost 50 years ago.
In earlier tours, viewers would only be able to catch a glimpse of visiting royals when they drove by in cars, Queen of the World, the upcoming documentary on Queen Elizabeth II, reveals.
"We never shook hands. The theory was, you couldn't shake hands with everybody, so don't start," Princess Anne explains in the film.
But that changed, thanks to the Queen's decision to personally greet royal watchers nearly half a century ago. Now, well-wishers can actually get handshakes and have short conversations with members of the royal family. (They just can't take selfies.)
"In the 1970s, the Queen decided to shake things up. She wanted to say hello to the crowds-and the walkabout was born," the narrator says in the documentary.
The Queen's first walkabout took place in 1970 during her royal tour of Australia and New Zealand with Prince Philip, The Telegraph reports. The new activity allowed them to "meet a greater number of people, not just officials and dignitaries," according to the site.
The practice may be more common during visits abroad, but they also take place when royals visit English cities outside of London. For example, Meghan and Harry's first walkabout together was in Nottingham.
Not all royals shake hands during the walkabouts. Princess Anne still doesn't do it, she revealed in Queen of the World. But the Duchess of Cambridge is so into interacting with the crowds that other royals actually tease her for it.
"There’s a real art to walkabouts, everybody teases me in the family that I spend far too long chatting," Middleton said in a 2016 documentary honoring the Queen's birthday, per Vanity Fair.
"I still have to learn a little bit more, and to pick up a few more tips, I suppose," she added.
Queen of the World premieres on October 1 on HBO. Watch the trailer below.
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