An etiquette guru’s guide to behaving correctly and why the royal wedding will likely irritate him
Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle will wed in less than three weeks. (Reuters: Andrew Milligan)
As her wedding approaches, Meghan Markle will be getting intensive training on royal protocol.
It’s something the soon-to-be member of the royal family will have to “get to grips” with, says England’s go-to guru on protocol, manners and etiquette, William Hanson.
Mr Hanson, who has a string of private clients, has an insight into what the royals expect of each other — and that includes the rules of curtsies.
For example, if Ms Markle is accompanying her new husband Prince Harry anywhere then she takes on his status in the family.
Other royals, like Prince Andrew’s daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, would have to curtsy to her — even if they were passing each other in the palace.
“But if Meghan is walking down a corridor on her own, no Harry, and bumps into Beatrice, Beatrice is a blood royal so Meghan would have to curtsy to her,” Mr Hanson explained.
Then consider this. The royal ranking means Meghan will always have to curtsy to William and Kate’s children — George, Charlotte and Louis.
“Will that happen while the children are 16 and under? Probably not,” Mr Hanson said.
The royal ranking means Meghan will always have to curtsy to William and Kate’s children — George, Charlotte and Louis. (Reuters: Toby Melville)
“To be honest, the younger members of the royal family will be less fussed if this happens or not.
“I would take an educated guess that if that if she was walking down a corridor and she bumped into the Duke of Edinburgh she would still curtsy, even though it’s behind closed doors because that’s an older generation.”
What is the correct way to curtsy?
Curtsying starts from the neck, Mr Hanson explained.
“So it is a bob of the head as well like the gentlemen’s bow, the hands are by the side, one foot behind the other, and it’s a bend of the knees keeping your back straight,” he said.
There is no finishing school at Buckingham Palace for anyone marrying into one of the world’s most exclusive families.
“It’s the courtiers and those who’ve been there, done that, got the tiara,” Mr Hanson said.
A rule-breaking wedding
The royal family do not like reinventing the wheel, they have a formula and they stick with it, he said.
“This wedding actually is probably going to be the one wedding that irritates everyone like me because it will break the protocol,” he said.
“Because Meghan seems to have her own take, which is fair enough, on what she wants to do.”
Already experts have been surprised by the early release of details of the cake, the florist and the photographer.
Already experts have been surprised by the early release of details of the cake, the florist and the photographer. (Twitter: Kensington Palace)
Normally that doesn’t happen until just before the big day, sometimes even after it.
The couple are expected to be given the new titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Meghan will not be a princess, but that’s unlikely to stop people calling her that.
Mr Hanson says during filming with an American network for a documentary called Meghan: An American Princess, people kept asking him what he thought of the title.
“I said well she might be British and she won’t be a princess, other than that it’s fabulous,” he said.
Etiquette coach William Hanson expects to be annoyed by the royal wedding as it will break the protocol. (Facebook: William Hanson)