Queen Elizabeth II’s action in helping to avert a curtsy disaster with a member of the public has become the subject of a new viral video, after footage captured during a Scottish garden party in 1990 resurfaced on TikTok.
Royal curtsies became the subject of debate in December 2022 when Meghan Markle was criticized for describing her initial reaction at being asked to curtsy to Queen Elizabeth II while she was dating Prince Harry as “a joke.”
Meghan described her first curtsy to the monarch and the nervousness that surrounded it in her Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan, which included an exaggerated re-enactment of a medieval-style bow that some commentators and viewers accused of being a mark of disrespect to queen and custom.
In the months since the docuseries debuted, social media users have created numerous viral posts highlighting members of the royal family and their curtsies, as well as Meghan’s own public curtsies for which she was praised.
In the new TikTok video, uploaded by user queenelizabethiiofhearts on July 24, the monarch is shown reacting to a curtsy with near disastrous consequences.
While being presented to a line-up of members of the public during an annual garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse—the monarch’s official residence in Scotland—Elizabeth was met with a curtsy from one well-wisher who lost her footing on the uneven grass.
As the lady nearly toppled over, the quick-thinking queen kept ahold of her hand, helping her to balance herself. Making light of the situation, the monarch then looked back at where the woman had nearly fallen and offered an empathetic giggle.
Captioned “Curtsy went wrong but our Queen handled it gracefully,” the video has been viewed over 250,000 times in 48 hours and has received in excess of 7,000 likes and numerous comments, many of which have praised the late queen, who died aged 96 on September 8, 2022.
“The way the queen held onto her hand to pull her back up that’s why she was so loved,” wrote one TikTok user of the clip.
“She pulled her right out of it and thought it was marvelous. That’s Liz,” posted another, with a further comment reading: “Funny situation, I liked her laugh at the end.”
The Scottish garden party that the curtsy incident occurred at formed part of an annual round of royal engagements in Edinburgh known as “Holyrood Week.” This took place each year at the end of June or in early July, and 2023 marked the first year that King Charles III upheld the tradition.
Queen Elizabeth spent much of her vacation time in Scotland, paying an annual summer visit to Balmoral Castle, near Aberdeen. It was during this vacation time at the castle in 2022 that the monarch died, prompting a journey for her coffin back to London via Edinburgh for the state funeral and final burial at Windsor Castle.
James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s .
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