Paws off, plebeians. Morocco's crown prince Moulay Hassan will have none of your weird hand pandering, thankyouverymuch.
As a recent viral video demonstrates, misguided military officials who attempt to kiss the young royal's hand are, as a rule, coolly rebuffed. The prince politely, if mechanically, submits to shaking the hands of dignitaries lined up to greet him, but whenever one of them attempts to lay lips on his tiny highness's tiny mitt, the prince jerks it back with a look of affronted disdain.
Regal rudeness, or the establishment of pragmatic, clear and not-to-be-crossed boundaries?
"It's always been awkward being royal and having hands," wrote Simon Usborne in the Independent. Truer words never spoken. Mouth-to-hand contact fell out of favor in England around the time people began to understand how disease spreads; then came the gloves and the elusive behind-the-back hand clasp, wrote Usborne. The bow-and-kiss-my-hand policy, though, does seem an antiquated practice in these modern times.
According to Karim Boukhari of Al-Monitor, it is widely seen as such in the Middle East. "This 'gesture,' deeply rooted in relations between the people and the monarchy, is above all a mark of respect (for the monarch) and an honor (for whoever kisses his hand)." But — as the scare quotes may suggest — it's not a welcome one. Rather, the hand kiss is a relic of feudal society. "Sociologically," Boukhari wrote, "it consecrated the principle of the subservience of an enslaved population and the deification of their master-protectors."
Crown prince Moulay Hassan's father, King Mohammed VI, is the only Arab head of state who's preserved the tradition of kissing a royal's hand, Al-Monitor reported. So it's possible that the 12-year-old is taking a stand against what he sees as an outmoded practice that reinforces his deification and widens the gap between him and his people.
Or, he's simply not into a bunch of strangers getting his hand all germy-like. Or, alternatively, it could be that the boy prince has yet to learn his manners.
Whatever his reason, it seems the straightforward snub is prince Moulay Hassan's preferred method of dealing with his public. And because he is the descendant of kings, all of his unfortunate and uncomfortable encounters are not only recorded, but also broadcast and committed to the annals of the Internet. Heavy is the head that wears the crown — and the hand that bears those super gross kisses.