Tuesday 30 November 2010

Curtsey Culture

So I'm really shit(e) about keeping my promises... I promised only last week that this blog would be a William and Kate-free zone, a respite from the constant blithering about their wedding, and it still is... sort of.. I do solemly swear to not speak about their WEDDING, but this article about the aftermath of the unmentionable event was too interesting not to mention.  My apologies in advance, but I hope you will agree with me on this one.

When I was a kid, I remember practicing to curtsey.  No, not in dance class or anything, just on my own because I was a nerdy kid (no more teasing please). I dont know when I ever thought I would have a need to curtsey, but it seemed like a valuable skill to have, so I "perfected" it.  Luckily I'm not Kate Middleton or all of that practice would have gone to waste becuase it appears that after that thing we cant talk about she will only be expected to curtsey to one person - The Queen herself. 

Zara Phillips greets her Grandmother,
The Queen with a curtsey
Apparently there is a document called Precedence Of The Royal Family To Be Observed At Court, written up by the Queen's secretary after Prince Charles married Camilla which knocked Camilla down a few notches in the who curtseys to whom list, ensuring that someone like Princess Anne (the Queen's daughter) would never have to curtsey to Camilla (shudder to think!).    Before this document, the wife of Prince Charles would have come directly after the Queen and Anne and Princess Alexandra (the Queen's seemingly very important cousin) would have to curtsey to her, but the Queen's apparent lack of respect for Camilla the Commoner and the fact that Anne and Alexandra have "devoted their lives to the monarchy" sparked the change.

Interestingly, Anne apparently refused to curtsey to Diana and is expected to do the same for Kate eventhough she will technically be ranked above her.  (Me-Ow!)

As the article explains, the wife of a royal takes on the position of her husband unless he is not with her and then she is moved down in rank.  So, without William physically by her side, Kate is actually ranked below Anne, Alexandra and Prince Andrew and Fergie's daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, since they are technically in line to the throne and royal by blood.  

Confused?  Here's the order as mandated by the Queen:
1. The Queen
2. Kate Middleton (unless she is sans Wills, which will knock her down to #6 just ahead of Camilla)
3. Princess Anne
4. Princess Beatrice
5. Princess Eugenie
6. Princess Alexandra
7. Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla)
8. Countess of Wessex (Sophie, wife of Prince Edward)
9. Lady Louise Windsor  (Sophie and Edward's daughter)
10. Zara Phillips  (Princess Anne's daughter)

 If you'd like to learn to curtsey, here is a young girl's informational video.  (Where was youtube when I was practicing in my bedroom??)


  1. how bizarre! I always hear about the royal family acting "normal" in private and I can't imagine how on earth curtseying to each other falls in that category! Can you imagine, nice to see you again *curtsey* oh cousin it's been so long, *curtsey*. I'm tired just thinking about it!

  2. I have no idea how they keep that stuff straight. Crazy1

  3. Curtseying is an important sign of respect. I have met the Duchess of Cornwall and gave her a deep curtsey; I have also curtseyed deeply to the Prince of Wales.