Awkward moment Iran’s ambassador to Spain doesn’t shake the hand of Queen Letizia

Author: Yuvi January 27, 2023

A clip of the moment the Iranian ambassador to Spain greeted Queen Letizia has gone viral, after royal fans mistook his traditional greeting for a ‘disrespectful’ snub to the royal. 

Queen Letizia, 50, and King Felipe VI  hosted a reception for Spain’s Diplomatic Corps at Zarzuela Palace yesterday, and lined up to great their guests at the start. 

Footage shared to Twitter shows how Iran’s ambassador to Spain, Hassan Ghashghavi, shook the King’s hand, but placed his hands over his heart and nodded to the Queen instead.  

Placing a hand on the heart with a nod or slight bow is considered a polite way for a man to greet a woman in Iran, but some royal watchers were confused by the lack of handshake. 

A clip has captured the moment Iran’s ambassador to Spain, Hassan Ghashghavi, didn’t shake the hand of Queen Letizia but preferred to opt for the polite greeting in his culture

Some royal watchers were confused by the lack of handshake and claimed that Mr Ghashghavi has been ‘disrespectful’, insisting that Queen Letizia did not look impressed. 

‘The disdain on her face is priceless,’ one wrote, while another added, ‘If looks could kill’.

However, others were quick to explain that there was no disrespect involved. 

‘How could he “refuse” when Queen didn’t extend her hand?’ one wrote. ‘Plus he gave her respectful bow. We must become familiar with one another’s practices and values. 

‘If his faith forbids him from doing something, it should be respected with tolerance, instead of imposing your own beliefs on him.’

‘What bunkum in this thread. It’s clear what happens, and what does happen is clearly prearranged and preagreed if you look closely,’ another added. ‘She’s expecting the whole thing and doesn’t extend her hand. As he passes he places his right hand on his heart and bows his head before moving on.’ 

According to Iranian codes of conduct, a man and a woman won’t shake hands unless the woman extends her hand out first and the man is willing to reciprocate the gesture. 

It appears that Mr Ghashghavi has chosen this option since taking office as the ambassador to Spain in 2019, however, the singular greeting was made more evident this week. 

For the past two years, the Sovereigns and their guests didn’t get to shake hands, due to the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia were hosting their annual reception for the Diplomatic Corps living in Madrid 

In 2021 and 2022, guests had to greet the royals from a two-metre distance while wearing masks. 

However, as they returned to shaking hands this year, the fact that the Iranian ambassador to Spain decided to opt for another greeting was made apparent. 

While Letizia seemed surprised by the ambassador’s move, she graciously didn’t let it show and focused her attention on the next guest. 

While some accused the diplomat of snubbing the Queen, it appears he only chose to greet her in a way he was comfortable with and which is widely observed in his country. 

Some royal watchers on Twitter were confused when they noticed that the ambassador didn’t shake Letizia’s hand, but others explained that there was no snub and that he was just greeting her in a traditional fashion 

Mr Ghashghavi was one of dozens of ambassadors who flocked to the royal palace to attend the reception yesterday. 

The Queen, 50, flanked her husband, King Felipe IV, at the event, as the pair greeted members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Spain.

The King, 54, along with the Queen, offered warm welcomes to dozens of diplomatic delegates and their spouses, and spent almost ten minutes in total shaking hands with them.

The ever-stylish royal wore a flowing powder pink skirt for the occasion, which she paired with a white pussy bow blouse. 

Appearing elegant and composed, Queen Letizia smiled and chatted with ambassadors to Spain from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Germany, Kenya, and many more states.  

The ambassador shook the King’s hand, but opted to cross his arms and nod at Letizia, which is a polite way of greeting women, according to Iranian culture 

While the Queen seemed surprised that the ambassador didn’t shake her hand, she didn’t let it show 

The ever-stylish royal wore a flowing powder pink skirt for the occasion, which she paired with a crisp white blouse

She matched the beautiful floor-length skirt with stilettos of the same colour as her skirt.

The mother-of-two glowed as her makeup looked typically flawless with a smokey eye and natural lip. 

To complete the chic, look her dark brown tresses were pinned back to show off her statement earrings.

The decadent jewellery, comprised of turquoise, white and pink gemstones, also gave a nod to the rosey shade of her outfit. 

Meanwhile, the King looked smart in a three-piece tailored suit, which featured a grey waistcoat and matching grey pinstripe trousers.

His morning suit also featured expensive black tails and a crisp white shirt.

27 January, 2023, 8:33 am

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