The Royal Pecking Order Revealed

Posted on 26 Jun 2012 at 9:27am

Duchess of Cambridge has had deal with considerable conditions and rules about the act of curtseying, said to be one of the most confusing aspects of Royal protocol.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge curtsies to Queen Elizabeth as she and her husband Prince William bid farewell to the monarch after visiting Nottingham on June 13.

She may be married to a prince and could one day become Queen of England, but the Duchess of Cambridge apparently is still outranked when it come to having to curtsy to “blood princesses” in the royal family.

The rule of protocol comes after the Queen reportedly underlined the order of precedence in the family by circulating a memo to the various branches of the royal family in Britain.

In a document on new protocols, apparently, circulated privately in the royal household, when Prince William is not present, Duchess Kate’s rank falls within the royal family. Hence she must show reverence to other family members, as per new order.

In practice, according to most royal observers, this really means that she will only be seen making the bow to the Queen and Prince Philip – to whom all the royals bow in reverence.

When Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, the Order of Precedence’ was last updated. At that point the Sophie was reported to be upset that she was made to curtsy to Camilla.

A senior courtier was quoted as saying: “She didn’t like it one bit.”

However, under the new rule, Duchess Kate still remains superior to Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, and hence the latter would have to curtsy to Catherine.