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Canada governor touches queen's elbow for safety on stairs

Associated Press logo Associated Press 7/20/2017
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II talks with Canada Governor General David Johnston at Canada House in Trafalgar Square, central London, Wednesday July 19, 2017, marking the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. The queen will meet various dignitaries and guests during her visit to celebrate the establishment of modern Canada 150-years ago. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Queen Elizabeth II talks with Canada Governor General David Johnston at Canada House in Trafalgar Square, central London, Wednesday July 19, 2017, marking the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. The queen will meet various dignitaries and guests during her visit to celebrate the establishment of modern Canada 150-years ago. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Canada's governor general says he decided to breach royal protocol and touch Queen Elizabeth II to ensure she didn't stumble down slippery steps during an official engagement in London.

David Johnston, who met with the 91-year-old monarch on Wednesday to mark Canada's 150th birthday, was seen gently touching her elbow as she ascended steps at London's Canada House. He did the same as she left the building.

It is generally accepted that members of the public do not touch the queen.

Johnston told CBC News: "It's 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."

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