Queen issues new rules on royal curtsy pecking order

12:02 PM, Jun 26, 2012   |    comments
Britain's Catherine, duchess of Cambridge, center, Camilla, duchess of Cornwall, right, and Sophie, countess of Wessex, watch the annual procession of members of the Order of the Garter at Windsor Castle in Berkshire in June.
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As Prince William's wife, Kate Middleton may be a future queen but this uncommon commoner still has to know her place when it comes to who curtsies to whom.

The Telegraph reports that Queen Elizabeth II has updated the "Order of Precedences in the Royal Household" to take into account Kate's condition as a non-blood royal married to a royal and future king.

Despite her title of Duchess of Cambridge, she loses some of her clout when she is not accompanied by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.

In those dire straits, she must curtsy to the "blood princesses," the Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, and the daughters of the Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

When William is with her, however, Kate can stiff either of them, but she must curtsy to the Prince of Wales (aka Prince Charles) the Duchess of Cornwall (aka Camilla Parker Bowles), the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Now, for those keeping score, here where it gets tricky. What should the Countess of Wessex, who is married to Prince Edward, do?

Here's a hint: She was born Sophie Rhys-Jones, the daughter of a tire salesman.

As a decidedly non-blood royal, she will have to curtsy to Kate, even when William is not present, despite the fact that she, too, is married to a son of the queen.

The Telegraph says the new rules simply amount to following the precedent set when Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, another commoner married to a future king.

When the order was last updated, after Prince Charles remarried, the Countess of Wessex (i.e., the former tire salesman's daughter) was reported to be upset that she now had to curtsy to Camilla, the Telegraph reports. "She didn't like it one bit," a senior courtier is quoted as saying.

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