Kate is given her royal curtsy orders
Royals have their rules and, as out-of-date as they seem sometimes, they are meant to be followed.
So it goes with the ancient art of the curtsy, a gesture of reverence to those of higher rank. The family takes these things very seriously, even when it comes to each other in the expanded family circle.
Who curtsies to whom is serious business. With Kate Middleton in the family, the Queen has apparently found it necessary to make sure everyone understands the Order of Precedence, according to the Telegraph -- which has raised a few eyebrows because it reveals that Kate should curtsy to the “blood princesses” when Prince William is not around. That means Princess Anne, Princess Alexandra (the Queen’s cousin and granddaughter of George V), as well as Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie (right).
When William is around, she’s safe from bending, since she assumes her place alongside his stature as second in line for the throne and the other royal women must curtsy to her.
Whether or not William is around, Kate must always bow to the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla.
How much this is really done is an open question. One assumes being cordial with other royals would be enough to get by.
The royal pecking order can get complicated, never mind awkward. Royal watchers have yet to see Kate — a future Queen — curtsy to the younger Beatrice and Eugenie, and most would find it strange. Even wrong.
But royal blood is thick and Beatrice and Eugenie, unlike Kate, are actually in line for the throne. One seriously doubts that these two would be throwing a royal tantrum if everyone stays upright.
The Queen last updated this Order of Precedence after Charles married Camilla in 2005. It apparently ruffled a few royal feathers, with Sophie, Countess of Wessex — the wife of the Queen’s son Prince Edward — all of a sudden having, at least on paper, to curtsy to Camilla. With Kate fresh on the scene, Sophie now is second best to Kate, even when William isn’t around.
The Telegraph reports that the Order also applies to other protocols. In 2006, Camilla was attending a memorial service at Windsor. Since Charles was not with her, she had to wait outside until the ranking royal, Princess Anne, arrived.
So many rules .... The only one who doesn't have to worry about keeping things straight is the Queen. Everyone bows to her.
With all that out of the way, here’s a quick lesson on how to curtsy, according to the website Tradition in Action:
- Bend your head slightly.
- Keep your arms straight at your side or, if wearing a skirt, spread it sideways with your thumb and two fingers.
- Put your left leg behind the right one, toe touching the floor, while at the same time bending your right leg.