All About History

The Bizarre History of Royal Etiquette

Over the past two years, royal etiquette has been a popular topic as consequence of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s engagement and the birth of their son, Archie. The world’s press watched closely as Meghan adjusted to her new life in the British royal family, along with the protocol that comes with it – but why is it so important?

For centuries royal etiquette has been a formality implemented for ceremonial matters and seen as an indicator of social status. Over time it became a way to maintain order in the increasingly complicated courts of Europe. With its roots grounded in medieval chivalry, etiquette took a more humanist approach during the early modern period, with education and athletic ability among the attributes expected of the perfect courtier, all the while enforcing ideal behaviour. For many courtiers, sticking to court etiquette offered a chance to climb the social ladder and potentially earn favour with the monarch, while failure to adhere to the rules left them at risk of losing their coveted positions. Although many aspects of strange royal etiquette have persevered to this day, there were also some that were so outlandish they were ridiculed in their own time!

Table manners

Wolf your food down!

Britain, 19th Century to present

It is

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