A new viral video has reopened the debate over whether the Duchess of Sussex offered a traditional curtsy to Queen Elizabeth II during her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry, following a controversy concerning the gesture sparked by the duchess’ 2022 Netflix docuseries.
Debate around Meghan Markle’s wedding day curtsy has circulated since the event itself on May 19, 2018, as the official broadcast coverage from inside St George’s Chapel on the day did not appear to show the gesture being made.
By tradition, royal brides have offered a curtsy to the king or queen of the day whenever a monarch has been present at the nuptials. The gesture takes the form of a bowing of the head and bending of the knee. It is the female equivalent of a bow in court circles.
For royal fans, curtsies have become one of the most eagerly anticipated moments in royal weddings, with a number of compilations and viral posts being made following the moment which customarily takes place after the singing of the national anthem.
Uploaded to TikTok by user, royal.news.2023, on October 6, the new viral video contains a number of clips of the curtsies offered by the Princess of Wales, Princess Diana, Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, Princess Anne and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh.
Captioned “remembering wedding moments,” the video includes a brief clip from Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding day with the additional text caption: “Meghan and Harry—Did she do it?”
The video has been viewed more than 400,000 times on the platform so far and received in excess of 13,000 likes and 200 comments.
The footage used from Harry and Meghan’s wedding shows the moment following the national anthem where traditionally the curtsy would have occurred.
In the broadcast of the ceremony, the camera angle switched from a closeup of the couple to a wide-angled aerial shot at the moment the curtsy would have been best seen.
In the aerial footage, Meghan does appear to perform the gesture as Harry next to her bows his head. It would have been unusual for Meghan not to curtsy to Queen Elizabeth on her wedding day, however, no clear footage of the gesture from another angle has since been released.
The video has split TikTok commenters, with some asserting that Meghan did curtsy and others voicing doubt.
“Meghan did, why aren’t you showing it? Bias again,” wrote one user.
“Markle, didn’t see her curtsy how disrespectful,” posted another, with a further comment reading: “Meghan DID curtsy [to] the queen. Sadly, the camera was (not surprisingly) at a difficult angle. Wow.. talk about reaching!…”
Regalrumination.com has contacted Meghan’s representatives via email for comment.
Discourse around Meghan and curtsies increased in December 2022 with the release of the Harry & Meghan Netflix docuseries.
In the second episode of the show, the duchess recounted her experience of meeting Queen Elizabeth for the first time and how she thought that Harry’s request that she curtsy to his grandmother was “a joke.”
“We were in the car, driving, and he’s like: ‘You know how to curtsy, right?’ And I just thought it was a joke,” she told viewers before going on to liken the gesture to something from a “medieval times dinner and tournament.”
Though potentially intended as a humorous moment of self-deprecation, Meghan’s comment backfired, with critics accusing the duchess of mocking British customs and being disrespectful to the queen.
This came despite Meghan performing a number of deep and respectful curtsies to the queen at public events—notably at the monarch’s funeral following her death in September 2022.
James Crawford-Smith is Regalrumination.com‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Regalrumination.com‘s The Royals Facebook page.
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