Joburgers, here's what NOT to do if you meet Prince Harry and Meghan

01 October 2019 - 00:00 By Alex Patrick
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, greet fans in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, on September 24.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, greet fans in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, on September 24.
Image: Toby Melville - Pool/Getty Images

Royal fans, rejoice: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, will kick off her official two-day tour of Johannesburg on Tuesday.

She will be joined by her husband, Prince Harry, who is currently visiting Malawi, the following day.

The royals usually send out an etiquette directive before making an official visit to any country, but they apparently declined to do so before arriving in Cape Town for their tour of southern Africa last week. 

While this move might have been intended to put us all at ease, it has caused some confusion. How are you supposed to act if you're lucky enough to encounter the Duke and Duchess of Sussex? After all, you don't want to accidentally make a serious faux pas.

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

The dogs haven't accompanied them to SA - but Archie has, 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. However, it's OK them to ask to have a photo with you. You never know, it might just happen: it did to Nelson Mandela University student Sithembele Ncube.

While attending a garden reception in Bishopscourt, Meghan asked Ncube, who is a member of the Obama Foundation, to pose for a picture with her so she could send it to her friend, Michelle Obama.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, with Sithembele Ncube, a Nelson Mandela University student, at the residence of the British High Commissioner in Cape Town on September 24.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, with Sithembele Ncube, a Nelson Mandela University student, at the residence of the British High Commissioner in Cape Town on September 24.
Image: Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty Images

“I was gobsmacked because I am a huge fan of Michelle as well,” Ncube told the Sunday Times

“Meghan was more relaxed than I thought she would be. I thought she would have many rules on how to address her and I thought she would not want to take pictures."

Hugging is also strictly off limits - although the royal couple have been flouting that rule while in SA. They've been snapped sharing warm embraces with many of the locals they've met during their official engagements.

That said, we'd suggest you let them be the ones to lean in first for that hug.

Additional reporting by Toni Jaye Singer.

This article is adapted from one previously published in the Sunday Times. Read the original here.


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