Personal Space asked Myka Meier, Founder and Director of Beaumont Etiquette, is a dual American and British citizen, and specializes in international social and business etiquette. She studied at multiple traditional etiquette schools in the United Kingdom and trained in London under a former member of The Royal Household of Her Majesty the Queen. So, she knows what’s up when it comes to manners.
Here’s everything Meghan will need to perfect if she gets serious with Prince Harry, as explained by Myka.
1. Posture, poise, and kissing
Never cross her legs at the knee. Instead, keep ankles and knees together at all times and either cross at the ankle or do the “Duchess Slant” a term coined by Beaumont Etiquette. The famous etiquette term now is used universally to describe the way The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana were taught to sit.
In social circles, the a cheek kiss will due. The cheek kiss is always right cheek to right cheek. One kiss in New York City, but two in London, which Meghan may have to adjust to. (First on the right cheek, the second kiss on the left cheek.)
It’s all about grace. To appear more graceful, simply slow down, both your movements and the speed of your voice. What should you do with your hands when you don’t have anything in them? Put the webs of your hands together and in front of you for a “resting” poise.
Posture when seated should be: Shoulders rolled back, do not use arm rests, sit about two inches away from the back of the chair and two hands away from the table. Never lean back into your chair, as your spine automatically curves and you break posture! Your chin is a posture cornerstone. Your chin should be parallel to the ground level. If it is too high, you may appear uninterested, or too low may show lack of confidence.
When gesturing, remember never to point. Meghan will have to make many grand entrances-some on stair cases. Posture while walking and climbing and descending stairs - do not look down at the step after the first one. Your chin should be lifted slightly and eyes should remain ahead of you. Do not grasp the staircase railing but instead gently put your hand on top of the railing to guide yourself. Toes should be pointed toward the staircase wall and be sure to walk very slowly upwards and downwards.
2. How to curtsy
Meghan will most certainly need to learn how to curtsy before she meets The Queen. To curtsy, keep legs together and point toes straight ahead and in line together. Bring your left foot back behind your right. This takes balance and practice. Keeping both arms to your sides, gently bend the right knee a few inches to slowly lower yourself into a curtsey position. At the same time that your knees are bent, the head tilts down gently…almost like a nod. Then at the same time as the chin comes back up, both legs go back into the original starting position. Remember, no swan dive curtseys and no pulling the sides of your dress out like Cinderella- those moves are just for Disney movies.
The tea cup. In British etiquette, we always hold the handle of a coffee or tea cup toward the 3 o’clock position. For tea, hold your cup by pinching your thumb and index finger together and then resting your middle finger underneath the handle. Never put your pinkies up…ever!
For coffee, your index finger may loop through the handle. In London, tea at the palace will only ever be called Afternoon Tea, never High Tea.
Cloth napkins should be folded in half and the crease should face toward you. When you need to use your napkin, open the right hand corner of the napkin and dab your mouth-then stains always stay inside of the napkin and never on the visual side. Never chew ice or gum.
Your fork stays in your left hand and your knife stays in your right. Index fingers are the only finger on each side that point outward toward the prongs and blade. After you cut a piece of food, the prongs of the fork stay down as you put the piece of food into your mouth. With soup, always scoop soup away from you when eating. You should take a maximum of four bites and then and puts your silverware down. Silverware should be positioned either in the “break” position on your plate (making a V on your plate with prongs facing down); or when you’re finished with your meal, silverware in Great Britain, should be in the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock position (In America, the fork and knife are positioned at the 4 o’clock position.)
4. Bathroom break
Never announce you must use the restroom, simply excuse yourself. No lipstick or makeup application at the table, or anywhere in public!
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