Dear Miss Fine,
I’ve recently moved to London and while I know the odds are slim, I’d like advice on what happens if I do happen to find myself in the company of Prince Harry. What is the protocol for the situation? Do I have to bow to him? Will he give me a cheek kiss? Or perhaps even a hug?
My big fear is that I may run into Prince Harry in a less than romantic location, such as in line (queue) for the bathroom (loo) at some pub. (This is a sad, but true fear.)
Does he get priority because he is royalty? Am I even allowed to talk to him (this is a real concern of mine)?
Lastly, assuming things go terrifically despite meeting in line for the toilets, after how many dates, can I stop calling him “Prince” Harry?
Future Mrs Prince Harry
You are not the first girl to write me with nervous worries about meeting Harry. And I hardly blame you – he’s hot. Not to mention that 4th in line to the British throne is nothing to sniff at. Harry may never inherit a kingdom, but without all that responsibility, he is able (and clearly willing) to have a lot more fun. Yes, William has a huge sense of duty, but Harry has this incredible, laidback magnetism and that super-sexy, mischievous grin. And when it comes to love, something tells me he plans to ditch tradition and follow his heart.
What right-minded girl wouldn’t go after him? Many accuse these “Harry Hunting” girls of being stalkers, gold-diggers or just plain delusional. But I’ve met a lot of them, and I’m sure, that just like you, they are nothing of the sort. My advice is Godspeed. If you believe in your heart that that you are worthy of a prince, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
That said, London is smaller than it seems and the odds of meeting Harry are better that you think – so be ready. Of course meeting members of the Royal Family can be nerve racking but when it comes to protocol, strictness varies greatly depending on the formality of setting (i.e. meeting Prince Harry at a charity reception is very different from meeting him at a nightclub.)
It is unlikely you will meet Harry in the queue for the loo (mainly because men’s bathrooms never have queues) but it is perfectly realistic that you might bump into him in a crowded pub in SW6 (especially the Brown Cow on Fulham Road.)
There is definitely no need to bow to him (but FYI: in a formal situation, a woman would curtsey). In all honesty, I’m certain Harry would prefer if you do not acknowledge his royal position whatsoever. Unless his security detail physically blocks you from doing so, you are absolutely allowed to talk to him. Don’t forget that royal guys can be just as hopeless as any other guy so try not to get nervous. Just put his title out of your mind and chat with him as if he were a perfectly normal guy who just happened to be a redheaded hunk. At a royal banquet, you would need to call him “Your Royal Highness,” but in a pub – “Harry” will suffice.
Keep in mind that too much deference can cause embarrassment and draw unwanted attention – so when in doubt, stay calm, and take the lead from his friends. And at the end of evening, don’t be surprised if Harry gives you a bear hug or kisses you on both cheeks. And I’d hope if you were actually dating, calling him by his official title would not be required.
Miss Jerramy Fine
PS: Don’t ever use the word “toilet” in royal company
Jerramy Fine is the author of Someday My Prince Will Come, The Regal Rules for Girls and Bright Young Royals. The Dear Miss Fine advice column will run twice a month — send your questions regarding English etiquette, life in England, and royal encounters to graduatesinwonderland @ gmail dot com and we’ll forward your questions on to her.