Now that British Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle have announced their engagement, royal watchers are trying to guess what the next royal wedding will look like. The couple have set a wedding date for Spring, but will the ceremony be held before or after the birth of the third child for Prince William and Duchess Kate? Who’s on the guest list besides the Queen? Expect a Who’s Who of royal blue bloods and Hollywood elites, a tennis star and an ex-U.S. President or two. Fans have been wondering if Meghan will become a princess or a duchess. Will she have to go to Princess school?
Here are royal etiquette lessons you’ll want to learn before you start shopping for a wedding present to take along to London.
Sit Like a Lady
The proper way to sit is with an “egg’s width of distance” between the back of the chair and your back. Your back should be straight, of course, and your hands folded in your lap. Either keep your ankles and knees together or cross your ankles if that feels more comfortable. Never cross your legs at the knee. Slanting your knees to one side will create a flattering silhouette.
- Time for Post-Wedding Breakfast
There will be a post-wedding “breakfast” served at noon, and tea will certainly be served. To properly hold your cup, use your thumb and index finger to pinch the top of the handle. Your middle finger should support the bottom of the handle. Try to sip from the same spot to avoid getting lipstick stains around the rim.
Americans usually hold their forks in the right hand, tines up, and only hold the knife to cut. You can expect royals to eat the Continental way, so you may want to follow suit. Hold forks in the left hand, tines down, and the knife in the right. Never put down your utensils while eating unless you need to take a drink. Then you would cross your silverware on your plate to let the wait staff know you haven’t finished eating.
- A Royal Greeting
Here again, you’ll want to copy the royals. One of their biggest jobs is meeting and greeting thousands of people each year. Make direct eye contact, give a firm handshake but avoid more than two pumps and smile.
When greeting friends, well-heeled Brits indulge in cheek-kissing. Follow these simple rules. Don’t actually kiss the person’s cheek, and refrain from making an overly loud kissing noise or a dramatic MWAH. Most Europeans do two kisses.
- Curtsy to the Queen
The curtsy should be subtle but the deeper and longer you pause shows more respect and formality. To curtsy, Place one leg behind the other and bowing your head slightly while bending your knees.