New rules: The Queen tells the Duchess of Cambridge to curtsy to the ‘blood princesses’
The Duchess of Cambridge may be the future queen, but she has discovered that there are several women in the Royal family to whom she must show reverence. Mandrake hears that the Queen has updated the Order of Precedence in the Royal Household to take into account the Duke of Cambridge’s wife.
The new rules of Court make it clear that the former Kate Middleton, when she is not accompanied by Prince William, must curtsy to the “blood princesses”, the Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, and the daughters of the Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
When William is with her, Kate does not need to bend the knee to either of them, but she must curtsy to the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Despite being married to the Queen’s son, the Countess of Wessex will, however, have to curtsy to Kate, even when William is not present.
“Updating the Order of Precedence has been a simple matter of following the precedent set when the Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowles,” a courtier tells me.
A document is said to have been circulated privately in the Royal Household, clarifying Kate’s status. When the Order was last updated, after Prince Charles’s second marriage, in 2005, the Countess of Wessex was reported to be upset that she now had to curtsy to Camilla. “She didn’t like it one bit,” a senior courtier was quoted as saying.
The Earl of Wessex’s wife had previously been the second-highest ranking woman in the Royal family because neither of the Queen’s other sons, Charles and Prince Andrew, were married.
However, after Charles remarried, the Queen changed the Order of Precedence “on blood principles” so that neither Princess Anne nor Princess Alexandra, the granddaughter of George V, would have to curtsy to Camilla when her husband was not present.
Although the etiquette may seem arcane, it is taken very seriously by the Royal family, whose members bow and curtsy to each other in public and in private. A vivid illustration came after the Trooping the Colour ceremony last weekend, when Kate could be seen curtsying to Prince Philip on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
The Order of Precedence affects other aspects of royal protocol, such as who arrives first at an event. For example, Camilla was forced to wait in the drizzle outside the Guards Chapel, Windsor, for the arrival of Princess Anne at a memorial service in 2006, because Charles had not accompanied her. A Buckingham Palace spokesman declines to comment.
»The Queen tells the Duchess of Cambridge to curtsy to the ‘blood princesses’
- That’s the way to do it: Kate curtsies to the Queen – Daily Mail (dailymail.co.uk)
- Queen Updates Order of Precedence and Who Must Bow to Whom (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Why our future queen still has to curtsy for Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie (express.co.uk)
- Kate Middleton Put in Her Place: Must Curtsy to “Blood Princesses” (celebs.gather.com)
- Kate Middleton must curtsy (salon.com)
- Of Royal Bondage and the Hierarchy of Blood (zengardner.com)
- Queen says Duchess Kate will curtsey to Beatrice and Eugenie (examiner.com)
- Kate Must Curtsy to Princesses Beatrice & Eugenie, Per Protocol (people.com)
- Updated royal rules keeps curtsy alive (bigpondnews.com)
- The Queen tells the Duchess of Cambridge to curtsy to the ‘blood princesses’ (telegraph.co.uk)