Meghan Markle is officially the Duchess of Sussex thanks to her recent marriage to Prince Harry—much like Kate Middleton is officially the Duchess of Cambridge thanks to her marriage to Prince William. But, weirdly, Meghan will continue having to curtsy to her sister-in-law thanks to Britain's intense ranking structure.
Technically, Meghan is supposed to curtsy to people who outrank her—including the Queen (obvs), Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Camilla. Due to William's position as future King of England, he also receives a curtsy, and, by extension, so does Kate Middleton.
The weird thing? While Meghan is required to curtsy to "blood princesses" (AKA princesses born into the royal family, such as Princess Anne, Princess Alexandra, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Eugenie) since they outrank her—if she's hanging with Harry, those same blood princesses have to curtsy to her because she and Harry, as a couple, outrank them.
"A curtsy to Princess Anne? Yes," a source explains to MailOnline. "She's the daughter of the Sovereign. Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice? Yes. But not if Harry's in the room; then they should curtsy to her. Nor before Princess Anne's daughter Zara Phillips, who despite being a blood royal will still be below Meghan in the pecking order (and expected to curtsy to her if Harry is present)."
If you're wondering who Kate Middleton has to curtsy to when she's solo (aside from the Queen, Philip, Charles, and Camilla), she's also reportedly obliged to bend the knee to the "blood princesses" including Princess Anne, Princess Alexandra, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Eugenie. But again, when William is present, it's a bit more complicated.
"Without William, Kate would curtsy to Camilla; with him, she would not," the source explains. "That's unless Prince Charles is present, in which case she would."
FYI, the complicated rules on curtsying were drawn up by the Queen's private secretary, in a 2005 document called "Precedence Of The Royal Family To Be Observed At Court"—the purpose of which was apparently to "clarify Camilla’s position in the hierarchy following her marriage to Charles." So there you go!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.