Prince Charles walked a few steps behind his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, during their latest royal outing, but there’s a totally valid reason for the shift in protocol.
It all started yesterday when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall attended a ceremony honoring the commission of a new aircraft carrier, which is named “HMS Prince of Wales” after Prince Charles.
Many royal aficionados were quick to point out that the 71-year-old royal didn’t walk alongside the 72-year-old duchess when they arrived at the event. Instead, he kept his distance out of respect.
You see, Bowles held a special role during the ceremony, since she served as the ship’s Lady Sponsor. (It’s a tradition where one female is selected to bestow good luck on the vessel.) This means that Prince Charles technically accompanied Bowles to the event—not the other way around. As a plus-one, it is standard protocol to allow the guest of honor to lead the way, according to Hello! magazine.
Still, the news might surprise some people, since the aircraft carrier is named after Prince Charles. Guess offering one’s moniker isn’t enough these days.
During the ceremony, Bowles wore a pale blue outfit by Bruce Oldfield, along with a matching hat by Philip Treacy. Prince Charles opted for his classic military uniform.
The HMS Prince of Wales is Britain’s second Queen Elizabeth carrier. It came with a hefty price tag of £3.1 billion (about $4 billion).
“The sheer scale and size of HMS Prince of Wales is simply breathtaking,” Bowles said. “Just to give you a comparison, Clarence House would fit nearly 25 times onto the flight deck.”
If you need us, we’ll be convincing our significant other to walk five steps behind us when we exit the car. (You know, standard royal protocol.)