He has been in office for seven years, but Her Majesty’s representative in Canada will most likely be remembered for a spontaneous reaction he made very late in his tenure.
Canada’s Governor General David Johnston has come out to defend himself after appearing to breach a royal protocol by touching the Queen.
As she departed the Canada House in London on Wednesday, where she had been celebrating the Canadian Confederation’s 150th anniversary, Mr Johnston helped the monarch descend steps, gently touching her elbow for few seconds in the process.
It was the second time the 76-year-old appeared to give the Queen a helping hand. He did the same thing as she entered the building. On both occasions, the Queen looked quite at ease.
Mr Johnston, who will be succeeded by Julie Payette in the autumn, explained the thinking behind his decision to breach the rules.
“Well I’m certainly conscious of the protocol,’’ he told Canada’s CBC.
“I just was anxious to be sure that there was no stumbling on the steps.”
“It is a little bit awkward, that descent from Canada House to Trafalgar Square, and there was a carpet that was a little slippy, and so I thought perhaps it was appropriate to breach protocol just to be sure that there was no stumble.”
Touching the Queen (or her outfit) has for long been considered an unwanted act, although according to the Royal Family website, nothing is set in stones when it comes to royal greetings:
‘’There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.’’
This is not the first time a high-profile personality raised eyebrows for touching a member of the royal family. In 2009, former US First Lady Michelle Obama was photographed wrapping an arm round the Queen.
In 2014, basketball star LeBron James seemed completely unaware of the protocol when he put his arm round Duchess of Cambridge as he presented her with a basketball jersey.
The royal touch has been one of the most contentious issues throughout the years. It was once believed that a ‘king’s touch’ could help cure diseases and conditions.