I Took a Royal Etiquette Class With Queen’s Cousin, Princess Katarina

  • I took a Zoom royal etiquette class co-hosted by Princess Katarina, the Queen’s cousin. 
  • The class covered how to greet members the royal family. 
  • The $34 class was more casual than I expected.

It is not often that you can take a class in royal etiquette with a real princess. 

So when I heard that Grant Harrold, former butler to Prince Charles, was teaming up with Her Royal Highness Princess Katarina to host a

workshop earlier this month, I didn’t think twice before buying a ticket, which cost £25, or around $34.

Princess Katarina (of Yugoslavia), who is both a member and a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, introduced herself as a great-niece and great-niece for the late Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. Since 2013, she has been co-teaching Harrold’s royal etiquette class. 

Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia.

Princess Katarina, Yugoslavia.

Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Harrold worked for the royal household from 2004 until 2009 and now runs both the etiquette school and his butler school. He was the first person that I interviewed when Insider joined in 2019. I have also taken several of his online classes.

The class began at 9 p.m. BST, on a Wednesday night. Participants from the US and other parts of the world were able join the class.  There were 31 of us in total — many of whom wore fascinators and hats for the occasion.

Princess Katarina and Harrold taught us how to shake hands and curtsy to the royals

The class was kicked off by Harrold, who went through a PowerPoint presentation that outlined the differences between etiquette and manners. Etiquette, he explained, is rule-based, such as “the way you fold your napkin” whereas manners are about politeness, like holding a door open for someone.

The presentation lasted about 20 minutes. After that, they spent approximately an hour answering questions. It became less structured than I had expected, running more like a Q&A session with Harrold and the princess taking turns speaking.

grant harrold table

Grant Harrold.

Jack Stooks

When one person asked about the correct way to address a royal, she responded:  “As we’re casual tonight, you can call me Princess Katarina.”

Harrold said that he has never addressed Princess Katarina by her first name and would usually call her “Your Royal Highness.” He added that only royals he would ever address by their first names were Princes Harry and William, because they are of a similar age. 

The pair also advised how to shake hands with a royal, with Harrold suggesting that it should be “between two and three pumps” and that your grasp shouldn’t be too firm or too limp.

Princess Katarina stated that it was the royal who should first put their hand out. She added she didn’t know whether the Queen will go back to handshakes after the pandemic, but she suspects that “more and more people will be wearing gloves.”

Despite the formalities, Princess Katarina had an informal air about her

I have to admit, when Princess Katarina told the class to use her “princess” title at the beginning of the class, I had expected to feel intimidated. I was surprised at how down-to-earth she was.

Even when advising on how to curtsy (do a “little bob” and don’t lean too close to the ground) the royal spoke as if she was on a Zoom call with old friends. 

She suggested that Harrold demonstrate the curtsy to the class, because “beneath my waist-side I do not wish people to see how I am dressed.”

Both the princess and Harrold made time for each participant, not only by answering their questions but by finding out more about the person, asking where they were from, or simply by complimenting their fascinator. 

Visit the Royal Butler website for information about forthcoming classes.

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