In defence of Meghan: It’s natural for an American to not know British protocol

meghan sussex
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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.

About Brittani Barger 99 Articles
My name is Brittani, and I am from Tennessee, USA. I have a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Tennessee: Knoxville, and a master’s degree from Northeastern University. I’ve been passionate about history since I was a child. My favorite areas to study and research are World War II through the Cold War, as well as studying the ancient Romans and Egyptians. Aside from pursuing my passion for writing about history, I am a reporter for Royal News (our sister site!). I am also an avid reader who believes you can never stop learning! On any weekend in the fall, you can find me watching college football (American football) and cheering on my Tennessee Volunteers! You can contact me on Twitter @bbargerRC .


  1. I completely agree, the outrage seems to be pure ignorance and an excuse to be mad at them. In the first three episodes, there was nothing that threw shade on anyone (except Samantha Markle by her daughter, and the press). It appears that the British press didn’t like this so are creating drama where there isn’t any, and the people who are so outraged are just blindly following – like sheep.

  2. The reason Meghan drew heat originally is (1) because she isn’t British, (2) she isn’t lily white, (3) she’s an actress, and then (4) she and Harry rejected them. The tabloid press had a field day, and Meghan did something very unRoyal: she sued them for libel — AND WON. She is going to be their arch-b/witch for the rest of her life. She is being punished. Curtseying – the anthem – touching – they are all excuses to pour hate on the poor woman. Get used to it — she is persona non grata in Britain for the rest of her life, and Harry is tarred along with her. They don’t need to do anything more. Game over.

  3. Another point comes from another angle: The late Queen was much beloved. The new King and Queen need to establish themselves and rewrite their “contract” with the British public so that they are seen as national assets. If the public doesn’t support the monarchy, away goes their funding, and the show folds up. King Charles has said he wants to “trim” the number of paid royals, but he didn’t expect to loose Harry, who was the second most popular royal — more popular than Prince William, the heir. That has to change: William must be seen as the most popular and honorable son to ensure the dynasty. Therefore, Harry will always be wrong and William will always be good and right in the official Press Releases and stories. You’d better get used to it. It has zero to do with right or wrong or fairness — just follow the money.

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