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Kate’s first lesson: Who must cuartsey to whom

May 2
Published on 3 May. 2011 8:07 PM IST
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The first thing the new Duchess of Cambridge will have noticed about her altered status is that the Palace policemen have started saluting her. In the state rooms of Buckingham Palace on Friday afternoon, female servants began to curtsey and grizzled retainers in their 100-year-old livery bowed their heads low. One former courtier said: ‘At first she’ll be embarrassed by all this courtly attention from people she barely knows. But she’ll soon come to realise that it’s not what she wants, but what everybody else wants that matters when it comes to people showing their respect.’ As a brand new royal duchess, and wife of the second in line to the throne, Kate will need to bone up on who curtseys to whom. In case nobody’s told her yet, here’s a rough guide to how things work. If the Queen comes into the room, it’s simple enough – Kate should curtsey to her. If Camilla appears and is with Charles, William’s wife should also curtsey to her. But if Charles is absent but William is present, then Kate outranks Camilla, who should – in theory – curtsey to Kate. This is because William outranks Camilla in terms of the lineage, which means that effectively so does his wife while he is present. Meanwhile, it has emerged that Prince William would prefer that his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, be called “Princess Catherine”, officials said. A commoner by birth, Kate Middleton was given the title Her Royal Highness Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, after her marriage to William, the second-in-line to the throne. The prince’s spokesman said, “William was “honoured” to become the Duke of Cambridge.” But he let it be known that he would prefer to remain Prince William and his wife to become “Princess Catherine”, according to the Daily Telegraph. The Buckingham Palace said, “If people wanted to call Catherine ‘princess’, they were welcome to do so.” Paddy Harverson, the communications secretary of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, said, “The public may be encouraged to use the names Prince William and Princess Catherine.” When Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, she took the title “Duchess of Cornwall”, while Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones, who married Charles’ brother Prince Edward in 1999, was given the title “Countess of Wessex”.

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Geeta Kapoor, before (L) and after (R).
Geeta Kapoor, before (L) and after (R).
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