Not since Paul Keating groped the Queen has a nation been so embarrassed by our prime minister’s response to the nation’s head of state.

Or perhaps more accurately, dying of shame at the media’s coverage of this shit storm in a Royal Dalton tea cup.

You loyal subjects of Great Britain have spoken — it’s hats off to the media’s coverage of Julia Gillard bowing, rather than curtseying, before Queen Elizabeth II. Not to mention daring to not wear a hat.

@mraikos I’ll get in early for my nomination of “curtseygate” for sideshow alley

@DblRistretto — the curtsey. Frenzied analysis around the extent of deference to an archaic institution – truly staggering.

Pretty much all the media outlets piled in on this one — but in a nutshell, it went along these lines: Gillard did not consider curtseying when greeting the Queen.

The British press then dutifully reported on the manufactured controversy. Sky News UK:

“The Queen has enjoyed her first full day of official engagements in Australia despite a row about the prime minister’s decision not to curtsy.

“… While the Queen enjoyed the flowers, the controversy over Julia Gillard’s not curtsying rumbled on.”

With all the star players:

“Matthew Archer, from the Australian Monarchists League, said Ms Gillard’s choice not to curtsy was rude and impolite, according to Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

“‘I understand she thinks we should ditch the monarchy but it’s just a sign of courtesy,’ he said. ‘It actually would be a sign of respect.'”

Just so you know, not that it matters apparently, curtsying to the Queen isn’t mandatory any more, according to royal protocol, although many women do choose to greet the Queen that way.

“The protocol advice to us was you either curtsy or bow your head, you should do what you’re comfortable with and that’s what I was comfortable with,” Gillard explained.

Off with her (hatless) head, we say.

But wait — another woman got done for this just a few months ago. Let’s cut to Bill O’Reilly on First Lady Michelle Obama, who also didn’t curtsey and also felt up the Queen. As O’Reilly put it:

O’Reilly: “She didn’t curtsey to the Queen, I guess she touched the Queen, which used to get you beheaded … you get beheaded if you were English for actually touching the Queen … so how did that go?”

The British forgave her, apparently. Not so Gillard, if The Daily Mail is to be believed:

Our sentiments are probably best expressed by First Dog on the Moon’s cartoon yesterday.