Royal Protocol: ‘The Duchess Slant’


When your brain is full of really obnoxiously random royal facts such as mine, it takes all I have not to scream when coming across headlines as those that were floating around yesterday after the Queen’s Young Leaders event.

No, no, the majority of headlines were not about the aforementioned young leaders, rather the fact that Meghan…

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Royal Protocol 101: Royals Meeting the Pope

Pope Francis Met King Felipe And Queen Letizia - VaticanSince King Felipe and Queen Letizia met with Pope Francis today–their first overseas engagement as King and Queen–I thought it was an appropriate time to discuss the protocol of Popes and Royals.

Princess Charlene

Le Privilège du blanc

“Privilege of the White” describes the tradition of allowing Catholic queens, princesses, and archduchesses to wear white in the presence of the Pope. You can view a complete list of who’s eligible to wear white, as well as “controversial beneficiaries” here.

QEII Pope John Paul IIDress

Others should wear black gowns, arms covered, hemlines beneath knees, and black tuxedos or suits. However, royals and many women dignitaries have begun wearing different colors than the traditional black. Most notably, Queen Elizabeth wore blue during her last meeting with His Holiness, back in January.


As the Pope is the head of the Catholic Church, and Vatican City, it is appropriate for Catholic royals to genuflect, and, should he extend his hand, to kiss his ring. For non-Catholics, it is a sign of respect to curtsy or bow, however, not mandated.

The Pope, in turn, is often seen bowing politely to royalty, even those of different faiths.


Royals, as well as non-royals, should address him as Your Holiness or Holy Father.


Royal Protocol 101: The Difference Between A ‘Crown Princess’ and a ‘Princess’

(This particular post has to do with Scandinavian Royal Protocol.)
It’s a seemingly simple explanation, though one I hadn’t quite come to realize until just recently…

I assumed Crown Princess (or Prince) was merely a title given, a fancier twist, if you will. But once I thought about it, I remembered that with royals, nothing is happenstance or done on a whim. So I looked further into the title of ‘Crown Princess.’

A ‘Crown Princess’ is heiress apparent.

The perfect example is the Swedish Royal Family:
The first born of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden is Victoria. Since she will then inherit the throne (thanks to the 1979 Act of Succession), she is Crown Princess Victoria.

The King’s two other children are then simply Prince Carl Philip, and Princess Madeleine.

Furthermore, Crown Princess Victoria’s daughter Estelle, being the heiress apparent’s first born, will become Crown Princess Estelle after Victoria’s ascension to the throne.

Royal Protocol 101: What to Do (and Not Do) When Meeting Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II


You find yourself standing in front of Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Perhaps you’ve been practicing your curtsy for months, waiting for this very moment, or perhaps you’ve managed to bump in to HM on the Tube…(highly unlikely, but let’s just go with it).

Whether it was anticipated or not, this meeting invokes some serious protocol. No fear, here’s your personal guide to acing the situation with poise and grace, like HM herself.

Do: Stand when HM enters the room.

Do: Curtsy, if you’re a woman, and bow, if you’re a man. If you are not a subject of the Queen, you are not required, as she is not the head of your country. However, a polite nod is respectful.

Do: Address Her Majesty as Your Majest. Not Your Royal Highness, etc. After which you should address her as ma’am, rhyming with “ham.”

Do: Keep handshake brief.*


Don’t: Touch the Queen.

Don’t: Reach for a handshake from HM. Wait until she instigates one, if at all.

Don’t: Speak unless spoken to. No matter who you are, you must wait.

Don’t: Ask questions off topic. HM will lead the topic of conversation. Furthermore, do not ask about royal family gossip.

Off to study and practice my subtle curtsy (because even though I’m American, I don’t think I could resist)!


Royal Protocol 101: Titles and Why She Will Never Be ‘Princess Kate’

(This particular post has to do with British Royal Protocol.)

Kate's Royal Titles

Kate’s title is actually Her Royal Highness, Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn.

And it was never ‘Princess Diana

I couldn’t believe it either when I started researching royal titles last week. But it’s very much true. In fact, a princess is only a Princess (insert name) if she was born into the role. Examples include Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Since neither Kate nor Diana were born royals, they were never merely ‘Princess Kate’ or ‘Princess Diana.’

But what about ‘Princess of Wales?’

Well yes, this is true. When Kate and William are passed down the title of Prince and Princess of Wales, they will both be exactly that. However, Kate will carry the title along with her husband’s name, ‘Princess William of Wales.’ Or even, ‘Her Royal Highness Catherine, Princess of Wales.’ Likewise, it was always ‘Her Royal Highness Diana, Princess of Wales.’

Upon her divorce from Prince Charles, by order of the Queen, Diana was stripped of all royal titles.

Queen Consort Catherine

The good news is, I suppose, that when Prince William takes the throne, the Duchess of Cambridge (never Duchess Catherine or Kate) will become Her Majesty Queen Consort Catherine (VI).

And should Prince William and Kate have a baby girl next time around, she’ll be a Princess through and through.



**This doesn’t mean I will always refer to her with her proper title. I still call her ‘Princess Kate,’ ‘Duchess Kate,’ and the like.
Photo credit: image one

Royal Protocol 101: To Whom Must Duchess Kate Curtsy?


I read last night that the last time Queen Elizabeth II ever curtsied was when she curtsied to her father the King’s body at his funeral.

Intrigued by this fact I immediately begin looking into the ‘Order of Curtsying,’ or so I call it.

I was surprised to come across the above graphic of the Duchess’s curtsying protocol. I remember reading a bit about the kerfuffle behind the Queen’s deciding of Kate’s position in the royal family, and now looking back at the whole thing a bit more closely, I bet it ruffled Kate’s feathers quite a bit. Especially since she must curtsy to the York Princesses whenever William is not present. (See this post for that situation.)

Oh the drama that must occur behind the ornate drapes of Buckingham Palace.