Queen Elizabeth is “very relaxed” about protocol.Getty Images

A former senior courtier to Queen Elizabeth has said that bowing and curtsying to Her Majesty is ‘not necessary’ as the queen is “very relaxed” about it.

Dickie Arbiter, who spent over a decade as press secretary at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, has revealed in a new memoir that the belief that people have to wait for the Queen to speak first when they meet her is just a myth, reports the Daily Mail.

“What may have befitted the social mores of the 18th and 19th centuries wasn't necessarily right for modern times,” he says in his book ‘On Duty With the Queen.’

“Bowing or curtsying when in the presence of a member of the Royal family? Not necessary. Not unless one chooses to.”

Arbiter told the Daily Telegraph: “There is this sort of myth that comes from the annals of time that says whenever a member of the Royal family went past you did a curtsy or bow.

“But there is no hard and fast rule, and if you can’t do it or don’t feel comfortable doing it or don’t want to do it that’s fine, it doesn’t mean you hold the Queen in any less respect and you won’t be sent to the Tower.

“The Queen is very relaxed about it, she doesn’t make rules, she understands that some people feel comfortable doing this sort of thing and others don’t.

“The whole thing about waiting for the Queen to speak first is also a myth.”

The official website of the British Monarchy states that there “are no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting the queen” but people may “wish to observe tradition.”

The site says it is “perfectly acceptable” to shake hands with the queen, whose correct formal address is “Your Majesty,” in lieu of bowing or curtsying.