- Documents reveal Russian president was ‘very tactile’ during his visit to London
- The Royal ‘effortlessly’ evaded his two attempts to take her by the arm
- Leader also tried to ‘encircle’ her waist during the visit in November 1992
- Foreign Office translator recommended Russians be told not to ‘handle’ Queen
Russian President Boris Yeltsin threatened to spark a diplomatic incident when he attempted to put his arm around the Queen, according to newly released government files.
The monarch skillfully sidestepped his attentions and officials suggested future visitors from the country be advised that people did not ‘handle’ her.
The papers are among a batch of around 90 files from the 1980s and early 1990s released by the National Archives which were made available too late for inclusion in the annual press preview for journalists.
Boris Yeltsin twice tried to take Queen Elizabeth by the hand and even attempted to encircle her waist
The details emerged in a report of Mr Yeltsin’s visit to London in November 1992 by the Foreign Office translator, KA Bishop, in which he noted the leader had been ‘very tactile’ toward Her Royal Highness.
‘He even managed at Greenwich during the goodbyes to get a half hug upon HRH the Duke of York, which could well have been followed by an embrace if evasive action had not been taken,’ he wrote.
‘Yeltsin also twice took the Queen’s arm and once even attempted to encircle her waist, but was thwarted (without offence being given) by the effortless skill of one with years of training!
‘Should she ever visit Russia and meet Yeltsin, it may be worth pre-briefing her hosts that apart from handshakes, people do not “handle” the Queen.’
The Queen is pictured visiting the Russian president two years after he threatened to spark a diplomatic incident
The incident recalled the infamous occasion when Australian prime minister Paul Keating put his hand on the Queen’s back earning him the nickname ‘the lizard of Oz’ in the British press.
Mr Bishop also noted that despite his well-known fondness for alcohol, Mr Yelstin was ‘pretty gentle’ with the wine during the visit, although at one reception when he was offered water he ‘waved it aside with a gesture suggesting something stronger would have been most welcome’.