This week’s EtiKate will look at the act of curtsying. Curtsying is a gesture of respect or reverence made by women by bending the knees with one foot forward and lowering the body. It is considered the female version of the bow. In the past, women would curtsy to anyone of superior social rank. While curtsying is much less common nowadays than it used to be in the past, women are still expected to curtsy in front of the royal family, as men are expected to bow. Technically speaking, if a person is not a British citizen, they do not have to bow or curtsy to Her Royal Highness the Queen or any member of the royal family, but I know if I ever had the opportunity to meet a British Royal, I would definitely be curtsying.
The Queen requested last year that Kate curtsy to all blood princesses, meaning Princesses Eugenie, Beatrice, Anne and Alexandra, whenever Prince William is not present. In this video from the Royal Wedding, both Kate and William can be seen curtsying to the Queen as all members of the British Royal Family are expected to do. She looks flawless and you can too the next time you have the opportunity to curtsy.
There are a few simple steps that will lead to the perfect curtsy. The first step is to loosely pinch the sides of your dress and pull it out in order to create more room for your legs and feet. This step is optional. Second, put your left foot forward as if you were about to walk. Remain standing up straight but bend your right knee, hold that position for two seconds, and then rise. Remember to keep your head forward and maintain eye contact with whomever you are curtsying to. Some women choose to also bow their heads when curtsying but this usually depends on the rank of the individual to whom they are curtsying. Another tip is to remember to smile while curtsying.
So if you’re looking to add a bit of royal etiquette into your daily routine, the next time you are shaking someone’s hand, why not try a little curtsy? You will look both professional and regal, a winning combination.