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Monday, June 25, 2012

Curtseying rules updated

Royal Etiquette has been Rewritten

According to the Daily Telegraph (UK), the Queen has updated the Order of Precedence in the Royal Household to take into account the Duke of Cambridge’s wife.

The new rules of Court make it clear that the former Kate Middleton, when she is not accompanied by Prince William, must curtsy to the “blood princesses”, the Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, and the daughters of the Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

When William is with her, Kate does not need to bend the knee to either of them, but she must curtsy to the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

A document is said to have been circulated privately in the Royal Household, clarifying Kate’s status. When the Order was last updated, after Prince Charles’s second marriage, in 2005, the Countess of Wessex was reported to be upset that she now had to curtsy to Camilla. “She didn’t like it one bit,” a senior courtier was quoted as saying.

The etiquette of curtseying (and bowing, no doubt) is taken very seriously by the Royal family, whose members bow and curtsy to each other in public and in private. A vivid illustration came after the Trooping the Colour ceremony last weekend, when Kate could be seen curtsying to Prince Philip on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

The Order of Precedence affects other aspects of royal protocol, such as who arrives first at an event. For example, Camilla was forced to wait in the drizzle outside the Guards Chapel, Windsor, for the arrival of Princess Anne at a memorial service in 2006, because Charles had not accompanied her.

Read the full story
It reminds me of a cute story told by Rose de Freycinet, the vivacious wife of a French discoverer, who sneaked on board in male attire so she could accompany her beloved Louis about the world.  On a remote tropical island, she recorded that the natives shrieked with laughter every time the ship's officers bowed and raised their hats as they encountered each other on the beach.

No doubt the French elegants found the natives' manners and customs equally amusing...


Mark Hubbard said...

As if life wasn't complicated already.

Joan Druett said...

Particularly for the Royals, in this day and age. I was amused by another item in the Telegraph, reporting that Kate, Prince Willie, and Camilla all attended the launch of a new factory or something, a role that included trying out a new production iron. Kate was the only Royal who knew how to use an iron.

Anonymous said...

Good for her. I knew there must be something she did know. For instance, she didn't know that Faberge eggs were no longer being made (and she is a History of Art graduate!) She never seems to know she is supposed to read a line or two about a charity cause so she woudn't stutter when forced to say a few words in an interview (the UNICEF fiasco). There are many things she doesn't know and most of them are things even I know. It's simple - it's called manners. I'm waiting to see how the Duchess will handle the protocol since she obviously has a problem with basic manners.

Now, seriously, I don't think it's such a big deal. It's just a matter of protocol. Royal protocol. We were so intrigued by Kate's wedding because she married HRH The Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, right? Had she married the plain Willy Windsor, nobody would have cared what she wore and how many pearls she had on her wedding gown. So she should obey the royal rules. It's part of the deal - you want a princess, okay. But she should live by the current standards for British princesses, including curtseying to the blood royals who might not look as impressive as her (bad fashion sense, if you ask me, because Beartice and Eugenie are both very pretty when not trying to lose themselves in awful dresses and makeup) but once they open their mouths, they sound much more mature and well, knowing why they are here. So far, the Duchess has been nothing to speak for. Except for looking glamorous.

Joan Druett said...

Just goes to prove that you can't trust graduates of anything, these days. And probably that royals are born, not made.

I enjoyed your eloquence. Thanks for posting.