Bowing and Curtseying

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I think a great deal also depends on where you physically are located - in which or whose country this mythical introduction is being placed.

When Charles came down the steps of his airplane, he was greeted at the bottom of the stairs by Mrs. Annenberg, who practically fell over herself to throw herself at Charles' feet. In California. Embarrassing for all, really. The papers had quite a field day, printing and reprinting the picture of the wife of the former US Ambassador hurling herself groundward in a curtsey. And reason for the furore was this: in the United States, on US soil, curtseying and bowing are simply not done. Not. Done. Period. We are a Republic, and that is not done.

Mrs. Annenberg bleated that she always curtsied to Charles and the RF when they were visiting England, and the response is yes: that's right. Their country, their customs, their rank, bow/courtesy all you like. This was US soil; no bowing, no curtseying, no titles: stop pretending you're somewhere or someone that you are not.

First of all I think it's fine that Mrs. Annenberg curtsied to His Royal Highness as a sign of respect. That was what she was used to and so thats what she did.

Second No matter where in the world they are U.S. or not Her Majesty is still Her Majesty the Queen, just as Prince Charles and his wife are still Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales and should still be treated as such and if Bowing/curtsing is how to show them respect then thats what should be done, regardless of what country they are in. For example when i'm in uniform in the United States and a higher ranking officer from another country is walking past I still salute him becuase regardless of country he is still a higher rank then me, and it's the same with Royalty. The biggest problem in America is that most of us have lost our manners.
The only members of the BRF that I would bow to is the Queen and Prince Philip.
It really is one's choice to bow or curtsey to a royal.
I think that it was very charming of Madame Sarkozy to curtsey as well as being good manners. I hope that Mrs.Rudd (the Australian PM's wife) did the same, but probably not.

In observance with protocol, Mrs. Rudd would be expected to curtsey based on the fact that QEII is the sovereign of Australia.
Now, Mrs. Sarkozy's curtsey has nothing to do with charm or lack thereof. She committed the same mistake that Madame Chirac used to make constantly. Mrs. Sarkozy's relationship to the British Royals is through her husband's position as France's Head of State. Therefore, while in public and in deference to France, she should never curtsey to any royal anywhere. What she did is an expression of affectation, if you will, but it is diplomatically inappropriate.
George VI issued letters patent in 1937 stating The Duke would continue to hold royal rank, but it was limited to him alone and explicitly denied to his wife and children. Given that, Wallis was never HRH because The Sovereign denied her the right to share her husband's rank.
I am well aware that, through letters patent, George VI withheld the HRH style from Wallis Simpson. That's what I was alluding to when I said "She was legally HRH The Duchess of Windsor". With respect to British Peerage, the legal wife of a peer assumes upon marriage, as a courtesy but legally, her husband's titles, rank and style. Although a letters patent is a legal document, it can be questioned how a duke's legal wife cannot be a duchess by marriage, and an HRH's wife cannot be an HRH (again) by marriage - conditionally of course, that is, for as long as she remains married to him.

The Duke never "instructed" his wife to curtsey or not curtsey. She certainly knew what the proper protocol was and extended the honour to those members of the royal family who were HRH as well. Obviously, she refused to curtsey to The Queen Mother, who played a major role in ensuring The Duchess never became HRH. .
How do you know that he didn't instruct her to do so? All evidence suggests that he did. Wallis was a very opinionated and arrogant parvenue and she was determined to take revenge. Do you have evidence that she curtseyed to other HRHs, when and where?
Of course, she knew the protocol because she loved it and she was smart, but knowing something is one thing, respecting it is another.
At any rate, the point I was trying to make here is that the Duke, who was also very bitter about the HRH issue, would never question the British Monarchy as an institution and, knowing her personality, he was anxious to see that she address the sovereign with utmost deference.

The situation with Camilla is completely different and she is married to Charles equally with the right to all of his titles and styles. She chose to be known as The Duchess of Cornwall (which is simply her style), rather than Princess of Wales out of respect to the memory of Princess Diana.
Camilla is married to Charles as equally or as unequally as Mrs. Simpson to the Duke of Windsor insofar as the two ladies' personal status was concerned prior to their royal marriage - both divorced, both commoners. Whichever title she chose to be known by (and this is her prerogative), she is legally HRH The Princess of Wales.

I apologize since this discussion has no bearing to the thread's title but the remarks are historically very important.
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I'm finding this discussion absolutely fascinating. (And no, I'm not sure what, as an American citizen, I'd do myself...)

I recall reading in William Manchester's "Death of a President", his excellent book about the assassination (and after) of President Kennedy, that while she was still First Lady, and about to meet the Queen and Prince Philip, Jackie Kennedy asked her chief of protocol should she curtsy. He said absolutely not, heads of state and their spouses do not curtsy to one another.

After the funeral, when she received Prince Philip as HM's emissary bearing royal condolences, she did indeed curtsy, and said to the same protocol chief, "I'm no longer the wife of a head of state."
I am always rather amazed that the same people who HATE the Duchess of Windsor seem to absolutely LOVE the Duchess of Cornwall. Should the 'rules' not apply to both of them who had a very similar marital background/future? Previously married and divorced wives who were mistress/love of the lives of the POW? Would everyone who shouts 'Queen Camilla' be equally enthusiatic about 'Queen Wallis'? If not, what is the difference?
If not, what is the difference?

I would imagine that they're different enough people to make that difference for some. Marital background isn't the only thing people make judgments on.
You also have to take into consideration the social norms of the times in which we live now compared to Wallis' day. We are a lot less stringent in our moral values, a sad comment to our times I suppose. I imagine Victoria was spinning in her grave when her great grandson abdicated for a woman who was not only a commoner, but also a divorcée and American at that!:eek:

I actually think it's better that we live in a time where people aren't seen as outcasts for making a poor choice in starting a relationship. Nobody has perfect foresight, so it's ridiculous to think of divorcees as second class citizens anymore.
Oops, I guess I should have made that remark a little clearer. As I am a divorcée of some 20 years, I know very well I do not want that mistake held against me.

I was mainly thinking of other areas we are more relaxed in our morals than in previous decades. In some ways it's a good thing and in some ways, not such a good thing. However, this is not the place for a debate on morals - then vs. now, so I'll just leave it at that.:ermm:

Actually, anyone not Royal is a commoner.
Exactly, and Victoria had a thing about her family marrying other royals, most especially the heir to the throne. The abdication alone was bad, but Wallis was even worse, or at least she would have been in Victoria's eyes. Please note I am stating my opinion of how Queen Victoria would have reacted had she been alive at the time, not my own personal opinion.

Victoria was less insistent on royal marriages than some of the European families, especially the German ones. Princess May wasn't royal enough to marry heirs to the little German principalities, but she was good enough in Victoria's eyes to marry the heir to the British throne.
With Vicky, Alice and Bertie she appears to have been quite insistent upon royal spouses. I think more to spread the idea of a constitutional monarchy throughout Germany in the cases of her two eldest daughters marriages, an endeavor that sadly failed. I recall Victoria and Vicky did have trouble finding someone they thought suitable for Bertie and finally settled on Princess Alexandra of Denmark, though I think Vicky would have preferred a German Princess for her brother.

As for Princess May of Teck, well, I'll have to read the book about Victoria's sons (if one exists) as the subject of Bertie and his children was barely touched upon in the book Victoria's Daughters. :ermm: Or perhaps King-Kaiser-Tsar, the Royal Forums Book Club book for May (shameless plug!) will give me some insight as the King involved is May/Mary's husband George!

And if I don't get back on topic here the Mods and Admins are going to have a field day deleting me. So to answer the question would I curtsy? Probably. Even though I am American and will probably never be in the presence of Royalty, if it should ever come to pass that I was so lucky I would do so for two reasons - 1) to show respect and 2) as a former ballet dancer I do a killer curtsy!

Actually, anyone not Royal is a commoner.

That's incorrect. Peers are not commoners. Strictly speaking, even royals who are not the sovereign or peers are commoners. Of course, nobody would consider the Princess Royal or Prince William to be commoners in real life.
That's incorrect. Peers are not commoners. Strictly speaking, even royals who are not the sovereign or peers are commoners. Of course, nobody would consider the Princess Royal or Prince William to be commoners in real life.

Sorry. It's been evening, and I wasn't clear.

My understanding is that anyone who is not royal (HRH or up) is a commoner. Even peers are, actually 'commoners' inasmuch as 'commoner' means 'not royal' and thus 'of the common people' (if, in the case of peers, somewhat elevated.)

I said:

Actually, anyone not Royal is a commoner

You said:

That's incorrect. Peers are not commoners.

Peers are not royal. One takes the highest designation to which one is entitled. So, while the Earl of Wessex, for example, is a Peer of the Realm, he is also royal--which takes precedence. And, by definition, anyone not royal is a commoner.
My understanding is that anyone who is not royal (HRH or up) is a commoner.

Your understanding is incorrect. "Commoner" means someone who is neither the Sovereign nor a peer.

Peers are not royal. One takes the highest designation to which one is entitled. So, while the Earl of Wessex, for example, is a Peer of the Realm, he is also royal--which takes precedence.

His peerage takes precedence in determining whether or not he is a commoner. Since he is a peer of the realm, he is not a commoner. The Princess Royal, however, is.

And, by definition, anyone not royal is a commoner.

That's not true. Royal status means nothing in determining whether or not one is a commoner, except for the Sovereign. FAQ: British royalty and nobility

This tends to generate confusion and debates, and use of the word should perhaps be avoided where possible.

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1) The sovereign is not a commoner.
2) Peers are not commoners.
3) The Prince of Wales is not a commoner.
4) All other British princes and princesses hold that title as a courtesy, similarly to the younger children of certain peers.
A commoner is a person who does not hold a royal or noble title.
Anyone that holds a title is not a commoner they are royal or noble.
this may not be correct but i heard that primeminister disrale refused to bow to Queen Victoria on the fact that he did not wish to bow before a woman

ps it might not be correct:ermm:
i did say i was not sure but thanks for clarifying
A Serene Highness does not get a curtsey. A Royal Highness does but it is only out of courtesy. If you don´t want to be courteous then don´t. A queen does not bow to a Queen. I remember an occasion when someone had recently become a Queen and went to curtsey to a HRH she had known all her life and was so accustomed to it that she forgot and they almost cracked knees. There was quite a bit of giggling about that later.

Diana, Princess of Wales and I believe an Asian consort..possibly the Queen of Malaysia but I can't be certain.
The incident I was referring to was between Queen Fabiola and a Spanish Infanta.

I've never heard of that before. Interesting. Which Infanta?
Actually I heard this from the "horse´s mouth" so I would rather not say which Infanta. When I said it was giggled about it was a Royal giggle among family so it wouldn´t have been public knowledge but funny.

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