How low can you go Prince and Princess Michael of Kent receive floor-skimming curtsies from writer Leonie Frieda at party
Launch party for Ms Frieda's new book, The Deadly Sisterhood, was at Kensington PalaceThe writer is close friends with the royal couple
16:47 GMT, 21 November 2012
There's curtseying…and then there's curtseying.
And Prince and Princess Michael of Kent received a pair of seriously impressive bent-knee salutations from author Leonie Frieda at a launch party to celebrate the writer's new historical book.
The royal pair looked most amused as Ms Frieda – who is close friends with the couple – crouched as low as her indigo satin strapless dress would allow as she greeted them at Kensington Palace in London last night.
Hit the floor: Leonie Frieda crouches low as she curtseys for Prince Michael of Kent at the launch party for her new book, The Deadly Sisterhood, at Kensington Palace
The Swedish-born author was celebrating the launch of her book The Deadly Sisterhood, which is based upon the lives of eight Italian Renaissance women, one of whom – Catherine de Medici – is an ancestor of Princess Michael.
Ms Frieda, 56, a former model who is divorced from music producer Nigel Frieda, attended the regal event with her daughter Elisabeth.
Princess Michael of Kent, 67 – whose name is Marie Christine – and Prince Michael of Kent, 70, are the parents of Freddie and Gabriella Windsor.
Prince Michael is a grandson of George V and Queen Mary.
On your knees: Leonie Freida greets her old friend, Princess Michael of Kent, with a supremely respectful curtsey
The ancient art of curtseying – a show of respect to the Royal family – hit the headlines in February when a set of rules was revealed regarding to whom the Duchess of Cambridge should be curtseying, and when.
The official guide for Kate is that if the Queen enters or leaves a room, Kate curtseys; if Camilla appears and is with Charles, William's wife should also curtsey to her.
HOW TO CURTSEY
Put your right foot behind your left footBriefly bend the knees with one foot forward keeping the upper body straightRepeat when the member of the Royal family leaves.
But if Charles is absent but William is present, then Kate outranks Camilla, who should curtsey to Kate. This is because William outranks Camilla in terms of the lineage, which means that effectively so does his wife while he is present.
If neither William nor Charles is there, then Kate curtseys to Camilla because, woman to woman, Camilla is her senior in the Firm.
In the case of Princess Anne, born a princess, and Princess Alexandra (the Queen's cousin and granddaughter of George V), both these women have royal blood in their veins and therefore are more important than Kate – unless William happens to be around, in which case she's more important than them.
Sophie Wessex, being married to a royal junior in rank to William, has to curtsey to them all.
As for Prince Andrew's daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, they out-rank Kate – but not when William is in the room.
Old pals: Princess Michael of Kent, in red, greets writer Leonie Frieda at her book launch last night
The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips – who always conforms to Royal protocol when meeting her grandmother – said in 2008 that few people know how to curtsey anymore.
NO THANKS, MA'AM
Cherie Blair famously refused to curtsey to the Queen on a visit to Balmoral in 1997
'I curtsey to her every time I see her,' the 27-year-old told Majesty magazine.
'The thing with my grandmother is she is still my grandmother and she's very approachable, but she's also from an era where that was how it was done.
'But there aren't many people who know how it's done. I know because I have grown up with it.'
When Zara collected her MBE in 2006 she jokingly showed others the correct way to greet the Queen.
Come rain or shine: Princess Michael of Kent came prepared for all weathers at the event in Kensington last night
Royal wave: Prince and Princess Michael of Kent aboard a boat during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames this summer