Unfavorable weather conditions did not deter King Charles III and senior members of the royal family from heading to Westminster Abbey earlier this week for a Commonwealth Day memorial service and celebrating the 56 countries that make up the global organisation.
In his speech, the King spoke about the theme of this year’s celebration, “Forging a common sustainable and peaceful future”, as the event reflected the diversity in the Commonwealth community.
Brianna Fruean, a young environmental activist from Samoa and past Commonwealth Youth Award winner, read a reflection, while Muslim, Sikh and Jewish representatives also gave readings.
There were several musical performances, including the Rwanda National Ballet, the Cyprus Women’s Amalgamation Choir and British saxophonist YolanDa Brown.
But an episode early in the celebrations sparked conversation among royal observers. As the Windsors chatted among themselves, several royal followers noticed that Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, did not bow to her father-in-law.
It is well known that royal protocol instructs members to bow or bow to the Sovereign and his spouse in recognition of their roles as the oldest in the family.
Kate’s sister-in-law Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, referred to that convention in the Netflix documentary series she made with Prince Harry, which premiered in November.
Meghan admitted her surprise to discover that the formality is also practiced within the palace walls, as well as in front of the public.
In Episode 2, Meghan recalls starting to “realize very quickly that the formality of the outside was reflected on the inside,” adding that she was taken aback by this.
Recalling her first meeting with the Queen, Meghan said: “I didn’t know I was going to meet her until moments before. We were in the car going to the Royal Lodge for lunch and (Harry said) like, ‘oh, my grandma’s here, she’s going there after church’, and I remember we were in the car, driving and he was like, ‘You know how bow down, right?’ I thought it was a joke.”
Harry added: “How do you explain that to people? How do you explain that you bow to your grandmother? And that you have to bow. Especially for an American, it’s weird.”
A widespread misconception is that royalty are supposed to bow to older family members. The family is based on your status. But in reality, it is not so. Except in front of the monarch, royals usually greet each other using the same guidelines offered to the general public, according to which “there are no mandatory codes of behavior”, but “many want to observe traditional ways.
Basically, that means it’s up to everyone to decide whether they want to bow or bow.
But back to Kate. The Princess has been praised over the years for her elegance as she has adapted to royal etiquette, leaving many baffled and wondering why she appeared to breach protocol at the Commonwealth event.
There could be a few reasons. One is that she is still adjusting to her father-in-law’s new role.
Another, perhaps more likely, reason could be that members of the royal family only need to formally greet the monarch at their first meeting of the day.
While the King and Queen Consort arrived in a separate car from Prince William and Kate, they may have gathered before the service and as such, the Princess of Wales was not expected to curtsey again.
Either way, the king seemed unperturbed and kept his focus on the event, the first of his new reign.
Source: CNN Brasil
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