This is something I’ve been wondering about for a while, and I’m glad there’s a story about it and details about the Queen approving of new “royal protocols”. Many of us have wondered: who does Duchess Kate really “outrank” in the royal family? It’s generally thought that “blood princesses” (born into the family, born with a royal title) are superior to those princesses/duchesses who simply marry into the family. Like, obviously, Princess Anne (The Princess Royal) far outranks Duchess Kate. But how about Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie? Are they equal to Kate? Are they lesser? Although Kate wasn’t “born” with a royal title, she will be Queen one day – does that affect the situation? Well, The Mail has all of the answers. And it’s not what I was expecting:
Despite the ease with which she has taken to her role, it seems the Duchess of Cambridge has not yet conquered the House of Windsor. Newly updated ‘protocols’ approved by the Queen place Kate firmly down the royal pecking order, it was reported yesterday.
A document is said to have been circulated privately in the royal household, clarifying Kate’s status. Although she is the future Queen, as a former commoner Kate must show reverence to the ‘blood princesses’. This means she is expected to curtsey to those born royal, such as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie – both in public and in private. The rule only applies when her husband, Prince William, is not present.
In his absence, she must also curtsey to other blue-blooded women in the royal household, including Princess Anne and Princess Alexandra, the Queen’s cousin. She must always curtsey to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, whether William is present or not.
However, in the case of the Countess of Wessex, it is she who has to curtsey to Kate. The Earl of Wessex’s wife was once the second-highest ranking woman in the Royal Family because neither of the Queen’s other sons, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, were married. This is effectively Sophie’s second ‘demotion’, having been pushed down the list in 2005 after Charles married Camilla, and finding she was expected to curtsey to the Duchess of Cornwall.
The complex new rules come in a little-known edict entitled the Order Of Precedence Of The Royal Family To Be Observed At Court, which the Queen has updated to take into account the Duke of Cambridge’s wife.
The Princess Royal is said to have refused to ever curtsey to Princess Diana or to Camilla, on the basis they were outsiders whereas she had given her whole adult life to royal service. In an effort to avoid conflicts, the Queen drew up the first Order of Precedence in 2005, after Charles married Camilla. Its effect was to change the order along ‘blood lines’ so that Princesses Anne, Beatrice, Eugenie and Alexandra – the granddaughter of George V – were all ahead of Camilla.
The etiquette, though arcane to some, is taken very seriously by the royals, who bow and curtsey to each other in public and behind closed doors. The Order of Precedence affects other aspects of royal protocol too, 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.
Royal historian Brian Hoey, an expert on court protocol, predicted when William married Kate that: ‘Kate will take the rank of her husband, which means that when she’s at court, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie should curtsey to her. But I don’t think there’s a chance they will. While William feels warmly towards his cousins, Beatrice and Eugenie, he’s conscious of the fact that they are lesser royals. As future King, he will wish to see them behaving correctly towards their future Queen – but their attitude is likely to be, “Why should I? I was born royal – Kate wasn’t”.’
Yesterday a Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment. Royal observers suspect Kate will not mind the new rules as she is keen to please everybody, but William may be less happy. However, it seems getting to grips with life in the royal household does have its benefits.
The increasingly glamorous Duchess is thought to have spent more than £35,000 on couture and high-end outfits since the start of the year – and the bill is being met by her father-in-law. Prince Charles has agreed to pay for any dresses the Duchess wears for ‘work-related’ functions and engagements through his official household budget. He will open up his accounts to the public this week for the first time since Kate, 30, joined the family.
So, basically, the Queen let it be known that Kate and Camilla should always curtsey to the blood princesses, but in reality, it probably won’t happen because William wants to make sure that his cousins respect Kate’s position. ??? I guess. Basically, the rule should be “Everyone needs to curtsey to Princess Anne, and beyond that you’re all on your own.”
Photos courtesy of WENN.
Written by Kaiser
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