Meeting the Queen, Canada Governor Enrages British Tabloids by Touching her Arm

Canada's governor general had Britain's tabloids in a rage on Wednesday when he broke royal protocol by briefly touching Queen Elizabeth II.

David Johnston, who is the senior representative of the crown on Canadian soil, touched the queen on the arm as she made her way down some steps at London's Canada House following an event to mark the nation's 150th birthday, the Toronto Sun reported.

Royal etiquette generally demands that officials who meet the queen do not touch her, though people have broken with it in the past, including Michelle Obama, who hugged the queen in 2009.

"I'm certainly conscious of the protocol," Johnston told CBC News. "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," he continued, "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."

The incident sparked immediate, shrill writeups on the MailOnline and hard-right royalist tabloid the Daily Express, which headlined its piece "hands off."

But others on Twitter didn't see what the fuss was about.

"The man helped an elderly lady from falling," one user said.

"'Governor General acts like Canadian gentleman' is a better headline," another added.

The queen did not attend Canada's birthday celebrations in the country itself at the start of July, sending her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in her place as part of her reduced travel schedule.

But Elizabeth II still acts as Canada's monarch and head of state, a role which is separate to her status as the British monarch. Her governor general and provincial governors act as representatives in Canada.

She met Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Scotland earlier this month.