The Queen would not have been offended by a former sports chief apparently breaching protocol by gently guiding her by the arm, Buckingham Palace said today.
Nickey Brennan, ex-president of the GAA, took the monarch by the elbow, introducing her to other past presidents during a reception earlier at Dublin’s famous Croke Park stadium, the Association’s home.
During the minor gaffe his hand remained on the sovereign’s arm for a short period until one of the royal British protection officers politely brushed it aside.
The unwritten rules surrounding public conduct towards the Queen dictate that she should not be touched.
But Buckingham Palace stressed the monarch would have seen Mr Brennan’s gesture as a warm move and would not have taken offence.
Asked later if he was aware of the protocol he had broken, Mr Brennan replied “no” adding “the first I’ve heard of it”.
The most famous breach occurred in 1992 when the then Australian prime minister Paul Keating was caught on camera with his arm around the Queen during an event.
The politician was branded the “Lizard of Oz” for the gaffe.
But protocol was dispensed with completely when the Queen met US First Lady Michelle Obama during a Buckingham Palace reception for world leaders in 2009.
The two women slipped their arms around each other towards the end of the evening as they compared their height differences.
The monarch put her hand on the back of Mrs Obama, who did the same for a few moments.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said Mr Brennan’s gesture would not have been a problem.
He said: “It was a warm gesture, no offence would have been taken.
“There’s no problem at all. There’s no breach of protocol. The Queen thoroughly enjoyed her visit to Croke Park.”