Meghan won over the country with her composure at the royal wedding. But has she been taking etiquette lessons now she’s HRH? We ask the former royal butler, Grant Harrold…
What are the top etiquette rules Meghan will have to abide by as a royal?
‘The top tips for the newly created Duchess of Sussex are to dress like a royal – which means skin toned or natural coloured tights and nail varnish with no bright colours. Skirts will now be on or below the knee and never above.
‘She will now lead conversations, offer handshakes and act with grace and decorum as a royal lady should. She will no longer take selfies or sign autographs, though, as royals never do this as they are not celebrities.’
How should we act around the Duchess now? Should we curtsey and bow our heads?
‘The public now must treat her as a royal. This includes gentlemen bowing their heads when they meet HRH, while ladies will curtsey with the right foot behind the left followed by a little bob. Not too low though as you may not come back up, and hands on the side as you are not a penguin.
‘You should not offer a handshake until the Duchess offers her hand and let’s remember conversations are led by the royals, not by the public.’
Do you think she has undergone etiquette training? Did Kate?
‘The royal ladies would never have undertaken any etiquette training. The reality is the ladies would learn from other royal family members – and their husbands, of course.
‘I noticed recently when the two duchesses were together at an event that the Duchess of Sussex was mirroring the way the Duchess of Cambridge sat. This was most likely a subtle thing that she has changed and will continue to change over the coming months and years in the way she dresses, behaves and carries herself.’
What was it like to be a butler to the princes? Any funny stories?
‘It was a huge honour to be a butler for the royal family, and working for the young princes was great fun. I was always thrilled to be asked to go away with them to carry out butler work over the years and treasure those memories as a special time.
‘I even once got to sit down and have lunch with Prince William at an event which was amazing, and an occasion I will not forget. I also made sure I knew which cutlery to use and how to behave. Prince Harry is like his brother, a true gentleman and I always tell people he would never ask me to do something he wouldn’t do himself.
‘While working for the royal family I did have the unusual honour of dancing with the Queen at Balmoral Castle for the Ghillies Ball. This was not something I ever thought I would do but when I was asked I was honoured and glad I took some secret dancing lessons!’
Grant Harrold is currently working on several exciting TV projects. He runs butler courses in Scotland at Borthwick Castle and Blenheim Palace near Oxford. Etiquette can be booked at theroyalbutler.co.uk and nicholasveitch.com