Monday, July 18, 2016

To curtsy or not to curtsy? There should be no question

In case you missed the tag line for my blog, I'm not a monarchist. I don't believe that the royals are better than me. For all of my fascination, I disagree with the monarchy on principle. I don't think privilege by birthright has any place in this day and age, particularly when it comes to the position of Head of State.

When it comes to royal protocol, few things irk me more than the idea that people should bow and curtsy to the royals. Some view it as a mark of respect, particularly with the Queen. While I can appreciate showing respect, you should not have to diminish yourself in the process. To me, bending at the knee is demeaning. It may be a personal choice but there is something incredibly absurd when I see someone other than a poesy wielding child doing so. Unlike an adult, the small child doesn't know any better.

While the royals are said to be flexible when it comes to bowing/curtsying, (but not when it comes to their own family members. I guess someone has to show the world how it is done), curtsying is viewed as default etiquette. It may no longer be expected but it has become such a ubiquitous tradition that to do otherwise is viewed as a sign of disrespect.

Woe-betide those who don't. The media gleefully gets in on the act when a republican is placed into a position where they can (literally) be brought to heel. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did not kneel before the Queen. Cherie Blair, wife of former UK PM Tony Blair, was criticized for not curtsying.When former Australian PM Julia Gillard chose to bow instead, it was viewed as 'rude and impolite' and she was put into a position where she had to defend her choice. The newest UK Prime Minister Theresa May chose to curtsy to the Queen (and kissed the Royal hand). When in Rome. However I believe that if Theresa May hadn't done either she would have been roasted in the media like Julia Gillard and Cherie Blair. So much for respecting personal choice.

 I hope for the day when obsequious bows and curtsys will be relegated to the past. When people can meet the Queen (or any other member of the royal family) with a firm handshake (like Angela Merkel above), human being to human being, neither one raised or diminished in the process. That is the ultimate form of respect.

No question about it.

© Marilyn Braun 2016

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