She may be a duchess, but Meghan Markle still faces those awkward moments we all experience when greeting someone new. Do you shake hands, lean in for a peck on the cheek or go the whole hog and hug it out?
The 38-year-old found herself in that very situation while on stage at the One Young World Summit Opening Ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday night when saying hello to an event organiser.
While the royal approached organiser Kate Robertson with open arms in a clear indication of a hug, the woman seemed to become confused between returning Meghan’s informal embrace or sticking to protocol and performing a curtsey.
What resulted was a rather cringeworthy exchange between the two, with Kate caught mid-curtsey while Meghan wrapped her forearms around her neck.
Clearly panicked, Kate then placed her hands on the mum-of-one’s waist, leaving her head hovering at chest-height.
Smiley Meghan, however, remained cool calm and collected, shaking her head and pulling the woman into a warm embrace.
The awkward yet very relatable gaffe came as the duchess made her first appearance since a controversial documentary about the Sussexes was aired.
The one-hour documentary, titled Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, saw both Prince Harry and Meghan speak candidly about the struggles they’ve faced since tying the knot last year.
UK journalist Tom Bradby, who is a friend of the duke, asked the former actor how she is, with Meghan revealing she really had ‘no idea’ what was coming before marrying into the royal family.
How to greet a royal
According to the royal family’s website, there are “no obligatory codes of behaviour” when greeting the Queen or her family members but notes that “many people wish to observe the traditional forms”.
Those ‘traditional forms’ are, for men, a neck bow - “from the head only” - while women can do a “small curtsy”.
The site states that a handshake is also acceptable, but makes no mention of hugging although it’s widely considered to be off-limits particularly for older royals.
The younger generation, however, are turning the tables with their hands-on-approach with royal fans.
With extra reporting by Sarah Carty.