5 Rules Of Royal Etiquette – Grant Harrold

5 Royal Etiquette Rules – Grant Harrold
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Former Royal butler, Grant Harrold, who previously worked for King Charles for seven years as part of the Royal household, hosted an afternoon tea with media at the Charlotte Street Hotel in London on behalf of Slingo.  

Grant gave those in attendance an etiquette lesson, while sharing insights from his time and experience working with the Royal family - including the correct etiquette when it comes to interacting with a Royal if you should ever get the chance. 

On behalf of Slingo, Grant shares the 5 rules of Royal etiquette you are expected to follow…

1. Gentlemen should always greet a Royal with a nod of the head, while ladies always curtsey 

“How do you greet a Royal? For a gentleman, it’s always a nod of the head. A gentleman should never over-emphasise their bow, I was once with the now King and somebody came up to him and did exactly that. Please don’t.  

“Ladies should always curtsey. You bend the right or the left leg, I always used to say the right but the Princess of Wales has now corrected me and you’ll see her swap between the two. Whatever leg is the strongest or the most comfortable. For example, I would do my right behind the left, a little bob and then back up. It’s as simple as that! Hands, always keep them in, you’re not a boeing 747. Ladies can bow their head while curtseying if they would rather, that’s absolutely fine, but they don’t have to. You’ll notice that some senior Royals when they curtsey and hold the hand, they often nod their head as well - that’s old etiquette rules where eye contact was never allowed, so you’d always gaze at the floor to avoid making eye contact. Nowadays, however, eye contact is absolutely fine.” 

2. Never hold your grip too limply during a handshake

“There is a science to the handshake. Extend your hand, palms meet, fingers wrapped round, thumbs down, then it’s two to three pumps. How you grip the hand matters - you shouldn’t grip too tightly or too limply. If you grip too limply, you appear uninterested.  

“When greeting guests, the Queen would take the hand in her way and then give you a push, a very gentle push back, and that meant your time conversing with her was up. If you look at footage of her, you will see her do that.” 

3. Never kiss a Royal when greeting them  

“You would never kiss a Royal when greeting them, always stick to the bow and the curtsey and the handshake. However, the correct way to kiss someone when greeting them is for the lady to lean forward. This prompts the gentleman to lean forward as well and the pair will then go cheek to cheek and kiss on the side. If the lady allows you too, you would also kiss on the other cheek - in this case, it's the right cheek first followed by the left. One kiss on the cheek was tradition, but now it’s two kisses.” 

4. Never turn your back to a Royal when entering the room

“The correct way to enter a room is to knock first and wait to be told to enter. Reach for the handle and open the door so you can see those who are in the room. So that you’re not turning your back, quickly take your hand to the other side of the door and spin round so you’re still facing everyone in the room. Facing those in the room, carefully close the door making sure it doesn’t slam. It’s the same protocol when you leave a room too.” 

5. During dinner conversation, follow the hosting Royal’s lead

“The correct way to greet a Royal is to say, ‘How do you do?’ However, the Queen later changed this to, ‘How nice to see you,’ and if Her Majesty has seen you before, she’ll change this to, ‘How nice to see you again’. 

“During dinner, the host, say the King, would lead conversation and start by talking to the person on his right with the guests in attendance following his lead and doing the same. Half way through the meal, the King will switch and talk to the person on his left, with the guests again following suit.” 


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V: 1.46.0 All rights reserved. January 2020