The wedding has generated new interest in British traditions. In the lead-up to the ceremony, one school in New York is offering classes on British etiquette – with a modern spin.
CGTN’s Liling Tan gets a crash course in how to be a right, proper lady.
The Royal Wedding and all its lavish protocols, receptions and meals have generated intense interest from Anglophiles around the world, but with Myka Meier, founder of the Beaumont Etiquette consultancy in Manhattan, you don’t have to be royalty to know how to behave like a royal… or sit and eat like one.
“This is called the Duchess Slant”, she explained. “This is the term that we use to describe the method used in the royal palaces. So we saw Princess Diana sitting like this, we now see the Duchess of Cambridge, and even Meghan Markle sitting this way.”
At the Plaza Hotel, where Beaumont Etiquette runs the Plaza Hotel Finishing Program, clients not only learning how to sit like a lady, but also how to eat like one at Afternoon Tea, with instruction on napkin etiquette, serving protocols, how to handle scones, and navigating around finger sandwiches.
“All etiquette really means is about showing respect and consideration to everyone around you,” said Myka. “So in this case today, it’s showing respect to your guest, or showing respect to what you’re eating.”
While her courses can be expensive, ranging from $275 US dollars to over a thousand dollars depending on size and duration, the consultancy also offers more affordable online tutorials and a few free pointers on social media. And Myka says it isn’t just about learning how to live the high life.
“While this is beautiful and fun, it is formal,” said Myka. “But I always say you can apply these skills to any meal, whether it’s just at home, a one course meal, it’s still dining in a way that shows respect, it’s still offering things to guests first.”
Much of the demand for her courses comes from companies looking to train their staff, as businesses realize the increasing value of social skills in business dealings. They also talk about how to behave on overseas trips.
“We’re always ruled by the etiquette of the country we are in,” Myka said. “So when we go to somebody else’s home, we adopt the culture of the home we’re in.”
In other words, follow the cues of your host.
DIGITAL EXTRA: Tea like a Royal
CGTN’s Liling Tan shows us how to take tea like a member of the royal family. While Meghan and Harry will likely have a far more formal dining experience than this high tea at the The Plaza Hotel, Tan learns that anyone can master the basics of fine dining etiquette.