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Meghan, Becoming a Duchess: Interview with Etiquette expert Myka Meier

Kelli Finger interviews Myka Meir of Beaumont Etiquette to get a better look at what training Meghan Markle will need as she joins the Royal Family.

With Meghan Markle due to officially join the Royal Family in May of next year, I was curious about what training she would receive before becoming a Duchess.

She will be front and centre on the public stage more so than when she was a Hollywood actress. The scrutiny she will receive will be on a grander scale and intensified. To prepare for this significant role, I was curious as to how Meghan might be adequately trained and instructed for her newest position – a member of the British Royal Family.

Ultimately, we know that she will have 24-hour security protection, but what else? For answers, I turned to Myka Meier, founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette.

1. Will there be any etiquette tips Meghan will need for Christmas at Sandringham?

A: Meghan will need to understand formal British dining when she dines with the Royal Family for the holidays. American dining is completely different than that of British, from the actual place you put the silverware on the table to how to hold each piece. Even the terminology when dining is different, for instance, Americans do not refer to dessert as pudding. Meghan will also need to know how to have formal afternoon tea, as it’s a favourite of the Queen and one surely she will be enjoying quite often.

2. Who will she have to curtsey to? Who will have to curtsey to her?

A: Meghan will have to curtsey to The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, [due to their] position in line to the throne.

The rules in a document created by The Queen called the Order of Precedence in the Royal Household, state that Meghan, when she is not accompanied by Prince Harry, should curtsey to the princesses born into the royal family, Princess Alexandra, the Princess Royal, and the daughters of the Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. This is all with the exception of if Harry is in the room, as then they should curtsey to Meghan.

The only time Megan will have to curtsey to Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, is when she is physically with her husband, who is The Queen’s third son, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

3. What is one important technical matter Meghan will need to learn? Sitting? Shaking hands? Getting in and out of a car?

A: The most formal way of sitting is to always keep knees and ankles together at all times. Meghan may soon learn to sit in a way that we call The Duchess Slant, a term that I coined based upon the method used to sit to protect one’s modesty. The Duchess Slant is when the knees and ankles remain together when seated, and the legs are slanted in a way that protects modesty.

4. How will the way she dresses have to change after she marries into the Royal Family?

A: As a member of the Royal Family, Meghan will be expected to dress to reflect the nature of the events she attends. For a formal or more sombre event, she will certainly dress accordingly to mirror it. Meghan will be a role model to millions around the world, which is a role she will surely take seriously when considering her wardrobe.

5. Who provides this specific training?

A: All training is typically done internally through the palace aids. It is thought she is undergoing specific training to prepare for each event she will attend. For instance, if she is travelling to a foreign country as a representative of the Royal Family, she will be trained beforehand on how to meet, greet, dine and communicate in that culture. She will certainly need to undergo protocol training prior to the wedding, as there are many cultural traditions that will take place on that special day.

6. Who will provide this Duchess training? Kate? Is there someone the Royal Family employs?

A: Royal aids have typically done much of the training. However, it is likely that Meghan will also get advice from her new sister-in-law, Prince Harry and even Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

7. Will Meghan learn how to interact with staff?

A: Meghan will most likely learn how to interact with staff of the Royal Family simply through observing. There may be bits of protocol she will need to learn, however, the staff will be there to assist and make her feel comfortable.

8. What about her security detail? Is there etiquette there, as well?

A: One of the biggest changes in Meghan’s life will be that of the constant security detail that she will have with her at all times while in public. Her security will likely be both male and female, who are highly trained professionals like that which we have seen with the other members of the Royal Family.

9. Will Meghan’s mother and family members need etiquette training for the wedding as they will be meeting The Queen?

A: Due to the amount of protocol for a royal wedding, in order to make Meghan’s family comfortable during the time of and surrounding the wedding, I’m sure there will be a certain amount of guidance given to her family.

END

I find all of this very interesting. Growing up in the United States, I never had to consider how to sit and eat properly. Of course, we’re taught manners, but nothing as intense as what Catherine and Meghan have been instructed to do.

If you live in the New York City area, Myka has an upcoming course in March, and she explained to me saying:

“In New York, we have a class called The Duchess Effect, which is held at The Plaza Hotel this coming March and is a group all day intensive course that teaches how to emulate the style, grace and poise of a duchess. They will have afternoon tea etiquette, formal British dining, style, hair and makeup, walking in heels, taking photos, conversation, posture and poise instruction and more.”

For those interested in the class, you can view it here.

Royal Central and I are very grateful for Myka’s thoughtful and helpful responses. We send our many thanks to Myka for her help. With preparation and practise, Meghan will most certainly make a smooth transition into her new royal role.

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