When Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, colloquially known as Prince Harry, begins his weeklong tour of the U.S. on Thursday, residents are sure to jostle to rub elbows with His Royal Highness.
His trip includes a stop in Colorado Springs for the third annual Warrior Games, a competition that features more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and British veterans and active duty service members.
Prince Harry, the youngest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, is slated to attend the opening ceremony and a volleyball exhibition Saturday and the cycling competition Sunday. The first two events are invitation-only, but the cycling is free to the public.
Prince Harry, 28 and third in line for the British throne, always draws a crowd – perhaps a nod to his casual, approachable demeanor. His status as one of the world’s more eligible bachelors certainly doesn’t hurt to bolster his celebrity, either. He seems equally lauded for his famed pedigree as his military valor and his royal shenanigans.
During his last visit to the U.S., in 2012, Prince Harry left a trail of scandal. A trip to Las Vegas was captured by a photographer, and his naked, royal exploits – he was caught with a young woman in an alleged game of strip billiards – were published, confirming that what happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas.
With his signature aw-shucks charm, Prince Harry conceded that his actions were ‘probably a classic case of me being too much Army and not enough Prince. ‘
PROPER PRINCE PROTOCOL
Despite how casual and easy-going Prince Harry seems, royal conventions do apply. While there are no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting a member of the Royal Family, there are traditional forms to brush up on – and they are precisely that: well-observed traditions, as confirmed by the Clarence House Press Office at Buckingham Palace.
If you happen upon Prince Harry, here’s how to give him the royal treatment.
Always wait for a dignitary to give you cues: they’ll speak to you first, extend their hand first and begin their meal or tea first – or, as one might imagine in the case of Prince Harry, drink their beer first.
In greeting Prince Harry, conventions would suggest using ‘Your Royal Highness, ‘ followed by ‘sir. ‘ For example: ‘Your Royal Highness, welcome to Colorado Springs. We hope you enjoy your time here as much as you did in Las Vegas, sir. ‘
If Prince Harry happens to be travelling with his grandmother, Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the same address applies, though ‘Your Royal Highness ‘ should be upgraded to ‘Your Majesty. ‘
If making an introduction, introduce up to a dignitary. For instance, if you found yourself introducing Prince Harry to your boss, you would open by saying, ‘Your Royal Highness, may I present my boss Ms. Howard to you. ‘ Then quietly bank that introduction for your annual performance review.
A greeting should be accompanied by a curtsy bob for women, whereas a head bow (just from the neck) is customary for men. These softened conventions are modern takes on traditional greetings like court curtsies (a grand sweeping movement, right to the ground) and formal bows for gents.
Prince Harry’s itinerary also includes events in Denver, New York, and Connecticut. His tour is slated to conclude May 15 with a visit to the area affected by Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey.
If you can’t catch his Royal Highness in person, fret not. You can send him mail:
His Royal Highness
London SW1A 1BA
For etiquette conundrums both royal and common, follow Karen Cleveland on Twitter at @schoolfinishing or www.mannersaresexy.com.
(First published in The Colorado Springs Gazette, May 6, 2013)