Will Prince Harry Have to Bow to Prince William When He Becomes King?

Now that Prince Harry is no longer an active member of the royal family, plenty of things are going to change for him and his family. Not only are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex becoming financially independent from the crown, but they are also ditching their HRH titles. This has led some fans to speculate whether Harry still has to bow to his older brother, Prince William, especially when he takes the crown.

Prince William Prince Harry
Prince William and Prince Harry | Toby Melville – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Inside the royal family’s etiquette for bowing and curtsying

The rules that dictate when a member of the royal family has to bow or curtsy to another royal are a bit complicated. But they are closely connected to how the royals are ranked within the line of succession.

Queen Elizabeth is at the top of the list and everyone is expected to bow or curtsy when they greet her. This includes her husband, Prince Philip, who retired from his royal duties a few years ago.

After Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles is the next highest-ranked member of the royal family, followed by his son, Prince William, and his children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. These rankings, of course, will shift once Charles takes the throne and when George starts a family of his own.

When it comes to people who marry into the royal family, they only take on the rank of their spouse when they are together. So during joint royal engagements, everyone except for Queen Elizabeth should bow or curtsy to Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

That changes, however, once you take Charles out of the equation. If Charles is not with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, then she curtsies anyone who was born into the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth’s other children, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward.

Does Prince Harry have to bow to Prince William?

William is currently second in line to the throne and is higher in the line of succession than his younger brother. Given how William is set to take the crown someday, Harry is technically supposed to bow to William during public engagements.

According to International Business Times, the royals are fairly relaxed when it comes to greeting anyone other than Queen Elizabeth. Although Harry is supposed to bow to William he never does. The same holds true to Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.

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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is supposed to curtsy to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge but rarely does it. That will change, however, once William is the King of the United Kingdom.

When that happens, everyone will be expected to bow or curtsy to William, just like they do to Queen Elizabeth and will someday do to Charles.

Do the rules change now that Harry is out of the royal family?

When Harry and Meghan ironed out the details of their exit from the monarchy, they agreed to stop using their HRH titles. This has led to many questions about how the royals will handle future engagements, including whether the Sussexes will have to bow and curtsy to William and Kate.

It is true that Harry and Meghan are no longer using their titles, but they never actually lost them. In fact, Prince Harry is still sixth in line to the throne and will likely never lose his standing in the line of succession.

While Harry will likely avoid bowing to William whenever they meet moving forward, he will still be required to bow to Queen Elizabeth. And the same will hold true once William is on the throne, even if Harry is still not a part of the royal family.

Inside Prince Harry and Prince William’s relationship

Harry and William’s relationship has been a hot topic over the past year. Before he and Meghan announced their departure in January, there were a lot of rumors that the brothers were feuding behind the scenes.

The Duke of Sussex seemingly confirmed the feud reports last fall when he admitted that he and William are “certainly on different paths.” He also stated that he does not talk to William as much as he used to and that they both experience “good days” and “bad days.”

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Although Megxit shook the royal family to its core, Harry and Meghan’s departure has seemingly done wonders to his relationship with William. According to Newsweek, William and Harry are on much better terms and recently participated in a video call to celebrate Archie Harrison’s first birthday.

“I am quite sure there would have been communication between the Cambridges and the Prince of Wales and I am told Harry picks up the phone regularly to his grandmother, the Queen,” royal expert Katie Nicholl shared.

Prince Harry has been laying low in Los Angeles with Meghan Markle, while Prince William and Kate Middleton have been self-isolating at their country home, Anmer Hall.