Who Does Prince William Bow To? Royal Family Etiquette Rules The Duke Must Always Follow

At Buckingham Palace, family rules are important. They govern everything from what royal family members are allowed to wear to how they greet each other while on official business. Everyone in the family must bow or curtsy to Queen Elizabeth II — after all, she is the reigning monarch! But, the queen isn’t the only one who receives this kind of respect. Members of the family bow and curtsy to each other, too. All of which makes us wonder: Who does Prince William bow to? And, does Harry have to bow to William?

We take a closer look at the strange royal family rules regarding curtsies and bows, plus other royal family etiquette rules Prince William and his family must always follow, ahead.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince William shows his respect by bowing to the queen. | Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Who does Prince William bow to?

As the future King of England, Prince William is pretty high up on the line of succession. His number two spot grants him respect from basically all of his family members, except three (and, sometimes four). According to royal family protocol, the Duke of Cambridge but always bow to the queen. Though it is likely that only occurs while on official business, not at home. But, hey! You never know. Anything is possible with the Mountbatten-Windsors.

After the queen, Prince William must bow to his grandfather, Prince Philip. Since Prince Philip is married to the monarch and of higher ranking than his grandson, he earns similar respect to Her Majesty. In addition to his grandfather, Prince William also bows to his own father, Prince Charles. Like Prince William, Prince Charles is considered the future King of England — only he is the heir apparent, aka first in line to the throne. Because of his ranking, Prince William, Prince Harry, and all other members of royalty (aside from the queen and Prince Philip) are expected to show their respect via curtsy or bow. If Camilla is with Prince Charles, Prince William also bows to her. However, if Camilla is without Charles, she bows to William — confusing, we know!

Does Harry bow to William?

Want to know what is not confusing? Prince William and Prince Harry’s royal ranking. Since Prince William is second in line to the throne and Prince Harry is sixth, Harry must bow to his brother while out on official engagements. And, that will never change, as Prince William will one day become king and earn the same respect his grandmother currently has.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton
The Duke of Cambridge must wear his military uniform to some family events. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Royal family etiquette rules Prince William must always follow

Bowing isn’t the only etiquette rule Prince William must always follow. In addition to greeting his family members with respect, he is expected to follow a host of family rules. See the royal family etiquette rules, below.

Sit in order of succession

Another major royal family etiquette rule that must always be met? The family must sit or walk in order of succession. That is especially true for ceremonial purposes. As the second in line to the throne, Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton walk behind and sit next to Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles (who sit next to the queen and Prince Philip).

Give his children a family name

Naming an heir to the throne is important in the royal family. Which is why there are rules regarding naming a prince or princess. In the royal family, it is expected that parents give their children family names. Also, they must get approval from the queen.

Wear his military uniform on formal occasions

Upon formal occasions — such as Trooping The Colour — those in the family who are active members of the military must wear their uniform. Today, even Princess Anne wears her uniform when required.

Pack an all-black outfit when traveling

Should a sudden death occur while on a royal tour or traveling abroad, a royal must return in the proper attire. Which is why they pack an all-black outfit when traveling. Prince William is expected to do the same.

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