Sunday Times

If you do get to meet them, here’s what NOT to do


● Bri­tain’s Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, might be try­ing to put South Africans at ease by de­clin­ing to send out an eti­quette direc­tive to their hosts, as usu­ally hap­pens be­fore a royal visit to any coun­try, but it seems to have caused more un­ease than any­thing else.

“I have no idea how to speak to them,” said Jacky Pok­ing, sec­re­tary of the Bo-Kaap Civic & Ratepay­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, who will meet the Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex on Her­itage Day when they ex­plore the his­toric Cape Town neigh­bour­hood.

“We haven’t re­ceived any of­fi­cial brief on eti­quette. I think it’s be­cause the Sus­sexes want to keep it in­for­mal. I don’t even know how we’re sup­posed to greet them.

“We are very ex­cited to in­tro­duce them to the BoKaap. They are go­ing to Africa’s old­est mosque [Auwal Masjid], then they are go­ing for tea at one of the lo­cal’s houses. They will get to taste the tra­di­tional savoury and sweet snacks: melk­tert, koek­sis­ters, samosas, that sort of thing.”

One per­son who prob­a­bly won’t have qualms about eti­quette is Arch­bishop Des­mond Tutu, who will host the cou­ple for tea in Cape Town. Des­mond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foun­da­tion chair Ni­clas Kjell­ström Mat­seke said Tutu had “a very good re­la­tion­ship with the Queen”.

He said dis­cus­sions would be about “peo­ple and the en­vi­ron­ment”.

“There were dis­cus­sions about what canapés we would serve and whether it would be South African or not, but we haven’t re­ally con­cluded yet. What I can say is that it will be out­stand­ing and del­i­cate.

“When they leave they will re­ceive a spe­cial gift made by some great women in a town­ship in the Western Cape. If there is time af­ter­wards we will show them the ex­hi­bi­tion of the legacy of Tutu at the mu­seum in the Des­mond & Leah Tutu Foun­da­tion build­ing.”

A re­cent direc­tive from Buck­ing­ham Palace to the cou­ple’s neigh­bours at Frog­more Cot­tage on the Wind­sor es­tate might help eti­quette con­fu­sion. The guide­lines in­clude no pet­ting their dogs, and do not ask to see baby Archie or of­fer to babysit.

The dogs aren’t ac­com­pa­ny­ing them to SA, but Archie is, so be warned.

As for greet­ing them, palace eti­quette states that Meghan should first be ad­dressed as “Your Royal High­ness” and there­after as “Ma’am”.

Harry should be met with a hand­shake, as should his wife, though it is cus­tom­ary for women to give a small curtsy when meet­ing a mem­ber of the royal fam­ily. It is to­tally ver­boten to whip out your phone and take a photo of any royal dur­ing con­ver­sa­tion, let alone ask for a selfie with them.

Hug­ging is also strictly off lim­its, although Kate Mid­dle­ton, the Duchess of Cam­bridge, has been known to flout that rule. She’s not the only royal to oc­ca­sion­ally break with eti­quette: Harry com­mit­ted a huge blun­der at the fifth an­niver­sary of the In­vic­tus

Games this year when he shut the door of the car he’d just climbed out of. For se­cu­rity rea­sons, the roy­als may never open or close their own doors.

Meghan’s wardrobe in SA, de­spite the sea­son, will in­clude stock­ings. Other than that, we have no idea what she will wear — her spokesper­son, Julie Bur­ley, de­clined to an­swer ques­tions about her wardrobe.

It is to­tally ver­boten to whip out your phone and take a photo of any royal dur­ing con­ver­sa­tion

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