The Duchess of Sussex’s lack of knowledge of British and royal protocol has come to the forefront since the Sussexes’ Netflix series began airing. Many seem aghast that she had to Google the British national anthem and did not know how to curtsey.
I know this will be a controversial opinion that the Brits will not like or agree with, but as a fellow American, I feel like I need to come to her defence.
First of all, let me say I have criticised both Meghan and Harry when I thought it was warranted. I do not believe they are perfect and have made all the right choices. However, the comments on their Netflix documentary, which I have so far enjoyed, are baffling to this fellow American.
Meghan revealed in the series that she had to Google “God Save The Queen” and that, somehow, offended people. Meghan is an American. Why would she have known the British anthem? Many Americans don’t even know “The Star Spangled Banner.” The vast majority of Americans would have had to Google it, too. How else was she supposed to learn it via a carrier pigeon?
When she first met the late Queen, she did not know how to curtsey. Again, why would she have known how to do that? She was not even a part of the Royal Family at that time. It is not something done in America; there’s no reason for it over here. It’s actually looked down upon because we pride ourselves on not having an aristocracy or monarchy. For example, when I was headed to Thailand and didn’t know if a situation was going to lead to meeting a Thai royal, a friend of mine bluntly said to me, “Do NOT curtsey or bow to them. You are an American!”
Meghan curtseying was doing something many Americans would not have done. Now, do I think it was as elaborate as she made it seem on Netflix? No, but I also do not think she meant any disrespect. Remember, most of this was filmed before Queen Elizabeth II died.
Also, the hugging. Why are people so hung up on the fact that Meghan hugs when she greets people? In the US, especially the American South where I am from, that’s just what we do. That’s how we welcome people and show friendliness. If I had been in Meghan’s shoes, I’d have had the same instinct to hug.
I really wish people would take into consideration the vast difference between American and British cultures. Our countries are similar, but we have many differences – especially when it comes to how our country is run. Attacks like these show serious anti-American bias from the British media and public, and it’s growing tiring.
The United States was founded on getting away from a monarchy. We chose our presidential system of government; you cannot tell me that if roles were reversed, a Brit would fit right in automatically and not have slip-ups with the American culture.
The docuseries has not revealed anything damaging to the Royal Family. So far, it’s really just revealed unseen photos and information about Harry and Meghan’s relationship. There have been no ‘daggers’ thrown at the royals; no information revealed that we did not already know.
Maybe it’s the fellow American in me, but I do not see the uproar in the first three episodes. Nor do I see a reason to attack Meghan for such small things like the national anthem, curtseying and hugging.