The Fascinating Reason Why Kate Curtsied To The Queen

the queen sitting duchess of cambridge nottingham

Stephen Butler / Splash News

It’s customary for anyone who respects the crown to curtsy or bow to the Queen.  For the royals, it’s a form of protocol that is as natural as a hug.

In fact, whenever the Queen’s family greets her, it’s with a kiss on each cheek, followed by a short curtsy or bow of the head.

This, Majesty managing editor Joe Little tells People‘s Simon Perry, only happens the first time a royal sees Her Majesty at an event.

Such was the case for the Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday, when she and Prince William attended the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign at Sandringham. 


“It is rare, but it indicates that this was the first time that the Duchess saw the Queen,” Little explained.

“It would normally happen in private.   Although they came from Sandringham House, they obviously hadn’t seen each other before Kate and the Middletons and their friends set out on foot.”

Related Story: The Art of a Proper Curtsy

The Cambridges and the Middletons likely came to St. Mary Magdelene church for the 50-minute service that preceded the memorial event from their Anmer Hall home.

“It’s unusual to see it in public but not unique. That would have been the first communication between them on that day.”

We’ve seen Catherine curtsy publicly to the Queen before, when she and William joined her in Nottingham, England for a June 2012 Diamond Jubilee engagement.


Camilla greeted the Queen accordingly at last year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show.


This is not, however, how other royals greet one another generally, despite a decree that made the rounds in 2012 when protocol revisions were made as a reminder of official rankings.

McClean’s created a fascinating cheat sheet (below) on the matter, since the logistics can get a bit complicated.

Basically, Catherine needs William around to avoid curtsying to most of her in-laws.

macleans royal curtsy cheat sheet


Or so we thought…

“The only woman the women in the family curtsy to in the royal family is the Queen,” Little said.

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