Oh no! A Canadian official majorly broke royal protocol when he touched (gasp!) Queen Elizabeth during a visit to London’s Canada House earlier this week. As the 91-year-old monarch and Canadian Governor General David Johnston walked down a flight of steps side-by-side on Wednesday, July 19, Johnston was spotted politely holding the Queen’s elbow so she wouldn’t trip on the stairs.

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“I’m certainly conscious of the protocol. I was just anxious to be sure there was no stumbling on the steps. It’s a little bit awkward, that descent from Canada House to Trafalgar Square, and there was 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,” Johnston later told CBS News of his headline-making gesture.

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The Queen with Johnston on July 19. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Though the British Monarchy’s official website states there are no “obligatory codes of behavior when meeting the Queen,” there are several “traditional forms” of acceptable greetings. “For men, this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way,” the website states. “On presentation to the Queen, the correct formal address is ‘Your Majesty’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am,’ pronounced with a short ‘a,’ as in ‘jam.'” Fascinating, right?!

Fortunately, Johnston is far from the first individual to break royal protocol while meeting a member of the royal family. Just a few weeks ago, another fan had an awkward encounter with Queen Elizabeth — but this time it was a cute horse, not a person! As Her Majesty lovingly pet a Shetland pony during an outing on Wednesday, July 5, the animal tried to nibble on the fresh flowers Queen Elizabeth was grasping in her hands. “Go away!” the Queen reportedly told the pony as she playfully tapped the horse on the nose and tutted under her breath, “They always eat the flowers!” So cute!

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