I’m a royal expert – which royals have to bow & curtsy to each other explained & why Harry & Meghan might not like it

KING Charles is being officially crowned at his coronation in May following the sad death of the Queen last year.

The passing of the beloved monarch meant a change in royal titles among the royal family – but what does it mean for who now bows or curtsies in public?


Even members of the royal family curtsy to the monarchCredit: Getty – Contributor
Meghan Markle admitted that such a formal greeting came as a surprise when she was first dating Prince Harry


Meghan Markle admitted that such a formal greeting came as a surprise when she was first dating Prince HarryCredit: AP:Associated Press

While members of the public often show their respects when meeting a monarch, we sometimes see the royal family doing so as well when greeting each other, depending on rank.

King Charles and the Queen Consort have now ascended the throne, and all family members, including those with a HRH title, will bow or curtsy when greeting them.

This includes his own children, Prince WIlliam, who has been given the Prince of Wales title, and Prince Harry.

Meghan Markle admitted that such a formal greeting came as a surprise when she was first dating Prince Harry. 

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During her Netflix show, she explained: “I remember we were in the car and we were driving up and he’s like, ‘You know how to curtsy, right?’ 

“And I just thought it was a joke.”

“How do you explain that to people?”

Harry added: “How do you explain that you bow to your grandmother and that you would need to curtsy? 

“Especially to an American. That’s weird.”

But do any of the royals have to bow or curtsy to one another?

Myka Meier, an etiquette expert and the author of the book Modern Etiquette Made Easy, told PEOPLE: “The general rule of thumb to remember is that a Royal Highness does not curtsy to another Royal Highness.”

Myka pointed out that Prince Edward and wife Sophie have just been given the new title of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. 

She said: “Therefore, while the newly titled Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will still have to curtsy to His Majesty King Charles and Her Majesty The Queen Consort, they will not have to curtsy any of the blood princes or princesses or those who have married one.”

Meanwhile, Kate Middleton and Meghan outrank blood members of the royal family – but only when accompanied by Prince William and Prince Harry, according to Debrett’s.

They stated: “Protocol dictates that when the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex are not accompanied by their husbands, Princess of the Royal Blood, such as Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, rank above them. 

“However, when the Duchesses are accompanied by their husbands, the roles are reversed and the duchesses outrank the princesses.”

It’s a complex etiquette and the dip-and-bon business comes from a document written by the Queen’s private secretary in 2005.

It was circulated among family and courtiers only, and was called Precedence Of The Royal Family To Be Observed At Court.

The curtsey originates from the 1500s.

It was designed as an easier alternative to dropping to your knees – a practice that was obligatory at the time when you met a royal.

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Since then, men have adopted the classic bow and women have stuck with the graceful dip.

According to the royal family’s official website: “There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”

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