The Royalist

06.27.12

Curtsey Controversy: The Analysis

Is the Queen trying to make a point?

The Royalist has been investigating the royal curtsey row, talking to courtiers and friends of the royal family, and intriguing theories have been emerging that the edict may be a Queenly show of authority regarding Prince Charles’s regal modernisation plans, which were showcased at the Jubilee when the new 'slimmed-down' monarchy of just six individuals appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

queen-balcony-jubilee-topbox
Lefteris Pitarakis / AP Photo

There is general agreement inside palace walls that the leaking of the revised, “Order of Precedence” document, which indicated that Kate Middleton, the future Queen, must curtsey to the ‘blood princesses’ Eugenie and Beatrice if she encounters them without her husband by her side, was unfortunate. The document has shone a light on the increasingly well-camouflaged feudal, snobbish and sexist core of the institution of Royalty.

Beyond that, there is a certain level of mystification. Why it was felt necessary to put all this information down in print? Was a point being made? Would a quiet word not have sufficed, particularly as friends of the young Royals also say that Kate is likely to not be particularly upset about the instructions to curtsey to Eugenie?

“This won’t bother her in the least,” says one. “She would probably rather have what is expected of her laid out in black and white.”

There has been speculation that William might have been more offended on behalf of his wife by the updated order of precedence, but the friend says that’s not the case.

“Whatever suits her suits him.”

A friend of Beatrice, who, along with her sister, will be seen by many as the  beneficiary of this new Order of Precedence, says that the idea that Beatrice or Eugenie would have lobbied for this change, or complained about Kate not deferring to them, is not accurate.

Indeed why would they? Everyone knows Kate will be Queen one day, and the last thing Beatrice and Eugenie want to do is to make an enemy of her, especially when their continued existence within the bosom of the Royal family is in doubt.

A more intriguing theory is that the Queen and Prince Philip are not on-side with Prince Charles’s plans for a ‘slimmed-down’ monarchy, which will cut out Beatrice and Eugenie, and that this is the Queen’s way of insisting that all her grandchildren are treated equally while she still draws breath.

Charles is fervently advocating that when he becomes King, the roster of working royals – ie those who get funded to the tune of many millions by the British taxpayer – be reduced to him, his sons and their spouses. This has obviously gone down like a ton of bricks with Andrew and Edward, who see their brother attempting a not-very subtle coup.

The balcony appearance after the Jubilee celebrations showcased this new ‘slimmed-down’ royal family, and was something of a victory for Charles’s agenda. The hospitalisation of Prince Philip worked conveniently for Charles’s purposes too: Philip, would never have allowed the balcony appearance to be an event not involving the whole family, and via his illness a convenient alibi was provided to get rid of Prince Edward, sent off to visit Dad in hospital while the appearance was taking place.

Of course, it is lost on no-one that Charles’s position is inherently unfair, internally contradictory and prejudiced towards his own offspring.  Why should Harry be treated any differently to Charles’s own brothers? Their constitutional position is identical, barring a generation gap.

What is clear, at any rate, is that the Queen seems determined that all of her grandchildren should be accorded the deference due to them as royal-born princesses.