Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s exit from the royal family does not mean they can skip out on certain etiquette rules. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, whose departure went into effect at the end of March, will still be required to obey certain rules when they return to the United Kingdom, including when they bow or curtsy to members of the royal family. With the couple no longer using their royal titles, do any of the royals have to bow or curtsy to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex?
Inside the royal family’s curtsy rules
Being a royal seems like a glamorous gig, but each member of the monarchy has to follow a complex set of rules whenever they appear in public. This includes protocols that say when they are supposed to bow or curtsy to other royals.
The rules that regulate how men and women greet members of theroyal family are a bit tricky. For starters, a person should bow or curtsystarting with the highest-ranking royal in the room.
Queen Elizabeth is at the top of the royal family rankings andeven Prince Philip is supposed to bow to Her Majesty. Following QueenElizabeth, the rank is linked to the royal line of succession, with PrinceCharles being second in order of importance.
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But this is where things get complicated. Those who are born into the royal family have a higher ranking than those who marry a royal. For example, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, and Princess Charlotte (all of whom are dubbed the “blood princesses”) have a higher ranking than Camilla Parker Bowles, Kate Middleton, and Meghan.
That changes, however, whenever the wives are with theirhusbands. So if Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Charles are together at anengagement, then she takes on his rank and even William is expected to bow toher.
The opposite is true when Camilla is alone. In those instances,Camilla offers a curtsy to all of the blood princesses because they outrankher.
Do any members of the royal family have to curtsy to MeghanMarkle?
These rules hold true for Meghan as well. According to Woman’sWorld, whenever Meghan is in a room with Harry, who is sixth in lineto the throne, she takes on his rank and everyone below him gives her a bow ora curtsy.
For instance, if the Sussexes are at an engagement with Queen Elizabeth, Charles, Camilla, Princess Anne, Beatrice, and Eugenie, then Meghan only has to curtsy to Queen Elizabeth, Charles, and Camilla.
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This morning, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was christened in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle at an intimate service officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are so happy to share the joy of this day with members of the public who have been incredibly supportive since the birth of their son. They thank you for your kindness in welcoming their first born and celebrating this special moment. Their Royal Highnesses feel fortunate to have enjoyed this day with family and the godparents of Archie. Their son, Archie, was baptised wearing the handmade replica of the royal christening gown which has been worn by royal infants for the last 11 years. The original Royal Christening Robe, made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1841 and first worn by her eldest daughter. It was subsequently worn for generations of Royal christenings, including The Queen, her children and her grandchildren until 2004, when The Queen commissioned this handmade replica, in order for the fragile historic outfit to be preserved, and for the tradition to continue. Photo credit: Chris Allerton ©️SussexRoyal
Anne, Beatrice, and Eugenie would have to curtsy Meghan becauseshe has Harry’s rank. If you take Harry out of the equation, then Meghan wouldhave to curtsy to everyone in the scenario.
These rules are generally followed whenever the royals appear inpublic together. In private, some of these formalities are likely skipped,especially with the lower ranking royals.
But how does Megxit factor into the curtsy rules?
Harry and Meghan’s exit from the royal family certainly complicates the rules of etiquette. In Queen Elizabeth’s announcement about the couple’s exit, she mentioned that they will no longer use their HRH titles, but she did not say that they lost them.
According to People,since Harry’s place in the line of succession remains unchanged, the curtsyrules will likely remain in place.
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“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
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“It all is a bit murky,” etiquette expert Myka Meier explained. “Now that they are keeping their HRH titles but not using them, the order of curtsy would stay the same as it has been since Meghan married into the family.”
When Meghan is in a room with Harry, everyone who is below his rank in the royal family will still be required to curtsy or bow to the former Suits star.
How do Americans greet Her Majesty?
To make things even more complicated, Americans are not requiredto follow the same etiquette rules as the British when they greet QueenElizabeth.
Meier revealed that Americans do not have to bow or curtsy to Her Majesty because “that is not a custom” in the United States. Instead, they can extend their hand for a quick shake and wait for Queen Elizabeth to respond.
Americans, of course, can always choose to bow or curtsy tomembers of the royal family, but that is up to the individual.
These rules do not apply to Meghan, however, as she istechnically still a part of the royal family.
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