The Curtsy Protocol

Curtsy Protocol

Every royal woman, blood or otherwise, has followed the curtsy protocol at some point. We would like to thank the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle for inspiring this post. Why? Well, she claimed not to know how to curtsy and that it had to be done upon every first meeting with The Queen.

We know from Meghan’s childhood and her time on Suits that she knew how to curtsy. She did dance classes and school performances which is a relevant part of performing. So, in this post, we’ll be discussing how the curtsy protocol works.

Who Curtsies To Who? – Part One

In royal and aristocratic circles, every woman, except monarchs are required to curtsy.

Even non-married partners are required to do so. For example, Meghan would’ve had to do so when she met The Queen, regardless of whether it was in public or private. If Her late Majesty’s own daughter, Princess Anne, and daughters-in-law, Camilla and Sophie, had to do it, then Markle would be required to do it too.

So, in Britain, at least, blood royal women have to curtsy to women higher than them. So, for example, Princess Anne would have to curtsy to her late mother. Since her sister-in-law, Camilla, is now Queen, she is still required to curtsy, regardless if Camilla is not the blood royal.

Another example is the former Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. Before she became Queen, Mary was required to curtsy to her mother-in-law, Queen Margrethe II. Now that she is the Queen of Denmark, Mary doesn’t have to curtsy to any other royal.

Mary does not have to do a curtsy since she and Margrethe now technically hold the same rank.

Who Curtsies To Who? – Part Two

Royal women of lesser rank must curtsy to the monarch. For example, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was recently seen curtsying to King Frederik of Denmark.

[Credit: Instagram – Swedish Royal Family]

Even though Victoria and Frederik hail from two different monarchies, there is still formality involved. However, you wouldn’t see Queen Mary, for example, curtsy to Queen Silvia, though when Mary was Crown Princess you would have seen her curtsy to Queen Silvia.

Okay, let’s return to women marrying into the British royal family. So, blood princesses are required to curtsy to higher placing women who marry into the family. For example, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have to curtsy to Catherine, the Princess of Wales, but there is a catch.

Beatrice and Eugenie would only have to curtsy to Catherine if Prince William is present. This is because Catherine is higher up the food chain than they are as her husband is higher than they are.

However, if William were not present, Catherine would have to curtsy to Beatrice and Eugenie. The same applies to Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh. If Princess Anne, for example, were in the room and Prince Edward was not, Sophie would have to curtsy to her.

All royal women that were present would have to curtsy to Queen Camilla, as she is the most senior royal.

Who Curtsies To Who? – Part Three

When it comes to the curtsy protocol – at least, in Britain, the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2005, decreed upon Charles and Camilla’s marriage, that all royal women would curtsy to the future Queen. Outside of The Queen herself, Camilla was the most senior woman.

Due to the 2005 change, Catherine was still required to curtsy to Princess Anne as her royal position didn’t change, whereas Beatrice and Eugenie’s did.

Finally, royal women who have no title, such as Zara Tindall, still have to curtsy but it is believed that no one needs to curtsy to her as she is not titled.

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About Author

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She prides herself as a truth seeker and will do (almost) anything for coffee or Coke No Sugar. Oh! And food!

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