Who Bows to Meghan Markle? Royal Etiquette Rules The Duchess Must Always Follow

There are a lot of rules in the royal family, including ones surrounding certain etiquette protocol like curtsying and bowing. But, while the duchess knows who she should always curtsy to, many wonder: Who bows to Meghan Markle? And, do her oldest friends have to treat her any different now that she’s a royal? Up ahead, we take a closer look at the royal etiquette rules.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Do Meghan Markle’s friends have to bow and curtsy to her? | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Who bows to Meghan Markle?

As a member of the royal family, one must always be respectful of Meghan Markle, including her oldest friends. That said, the down-to-earth Duchess of Sussex doesn’t expect those who knew her before her life as a royal to bow down to her. In an interview with People, Meghan Markle’s long-time friend and makeup artist, Daniel Martin said he was nervous on the day of the royal wedding — not because he was about to do makeup for one of the most anticipated events of the decade, but because he didn’t know how to approach his now royal friend.

According to the interview, Martin was confused about what to call his friend now that she’s royalty. And, on top of that, he didn’t know how to approach her. “I asked her that. ‘Do I bow to you? I don’t want to disrespect you, but I’ve known for almost ten years. What’s up?’” he told the publication. Luckily for Martin, being royal hasn’t gone to Meghan’s head. After asking his friend, “she started laughing and she said, ‘I’m always going to be Meg. Meg,’” he recalled.

While the duchess seems to be cool about her new role, that doesn’t mean her friends aren’t going to be on their best behavior around Her Royal Highness. “But next time I see them I will be respectful and know my protocol,” Martin noted. “ But Meg is always going to be Meg, that’s how it is,” he added.

If her friends don’t have to bow to her, who bows to Meghan Markle? According to royal etiquette rules, when Meghan is with Prince Harry, those behind him on the royal line of succession — such as Princess Eugenie (one of Meghan’s closest royal friends) — must bow or curtsy to the duchess. However, if she is alone, Meghan does the curtsying (so long as the person is a blood royal).

Royal etiquette rules

Royal etiquette rules are a big deal in the Mountbatten-Windsor household. And, chances are, Meghan Markle is still learning a great deal of them. Here are all the royal etiquette rules the Duchess of Sussex (and those around her) must follow.

Who does Meghan Markle curtsy to?

Meghan Markle will occasionally receive a bow or curtsy from her fellow royals and non-royals. But, what’s more important than who bows to Meghan Markle is who she bows to. While it’s not as strictly followed, the duchess should curtsy to all of those ahead of her and her husband on the royal line of succession. And, when she is alone, she must curtsy to those with royal blood (such as Prince Harry’s cousin) and high-ranking titles. That said, Meghan likely doesn’t go around curtsying Prince William and Kate Middleton on the regular. She does, however, always curtsy the queen.

Sit properly

In addition to curtsying and bowing, Meghan Markle must also sit like a royal. All royal women must sit with their legs together with their knees at either a slant or straightforward. If it is more comfortable, Meghan can cross her legs when she sits, so long as it is at the ankles, not the knees.

Shake hands

The royals are not huggers. And, now that Meghan Markle is one of them, neither is she. The Duchess of Sussex must always shake hands when greeting fans, world leaders, and other important figureheads. Hugging (or touching a royal in general) is off-limits.

No touching

If a celebrity or world leader wants to pose for a photo opp with Meghan Markle, they are forbidden from places their arm around the duchess. Commoners are not allowed to touch royal and therefore should stand straight forward with their arms to themselves when posing for a photograph. That said, the royal etiquette rule doesn’t seem as strict, as royals occasionally break it.

No selfies

If you happen to run into Meghan Markle while out and about, don’t bother asking for a selfie. The duchess might have taken photos with fans in the past, but now that she is royal, selfies are off-limits.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!