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Fiji Time: 2:07 AM on Saturday 19 April

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Fijian soldier sits down in front of Queen

The Telegraph
Friday, July 19, 2013

Update: 8:40AM A Fijian soldier confuses onlookers by sitting down after meeting the Queen, during her visit to Cumbria.

Sgt Rusiate Bolavucu, 32, representing the Burma Company, part of the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster Regiment, was following an ancient tradition from his South Pacific homeland.

He said: "It is a traditional and cultural thing for people from Fiji to do when they meet a head of state. It is a way of showing respect."

Wellwishers cheering The Queen were startled when the soldier she'd just spoken to suddenly sat himself down in the road during the royal tour of Kendal, Cumbria on Thursday.

However, Her Majesty knew exactly what was going on.

The well-travelled monarch understood what the crowds did not - that it was Fijian mark of respect for royalty.

The Queen has been to Fiji so she knows about it, and she had asked me where I was from, so she smiled when she saw what I was doing."

Sgt Bolavucu was among other solders from the 1st Battalion, who had just returned from Afghanistan, and those from 4th Battalion the Duke of Lancaster Regiment, who all managed to say a few words to The Queen, who was accompanied by Princess Anne.