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Royal Row on the Curtsy Front
- Sophie wants Camilla to follow rule book

A RIGHT ROYAL curtsy rumpus has broken out in the upper echelons of Britain's premier family, according to inside reports.

Rumours suggest that Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who is married to Prince Edward, third son of the Queen, is annoyed with Camilla Parker Bowles, who is stepping out with Prince Charles, first son the Queen. The latter will not curtsy to the former, it appears, despite the clear breach of protocol the refusal entails.

The Countess is also reported not to be too happy about the reluctance of Princess Anne, the Queen's daughter, to genuflect in her direction, but Parker Bowles is taking most of the heat.

That's because these days, in private, the royals don't usually follow the old rules of etiquette with the same thoroughness as their ancestors, except when it comes to the Queen, who still receives curtsy-tribute from all women, and except for Parker Bowles, who is expected to curtsy to all royal women, except that she doesn't, at least not to poor Sophie. Camilla is said to feel that her age - she is old enough to be Sophie's mother - confers on her the right to sidestep the iron laws of royal rank.

Rules on curtsying are governed by the proximity of one's, or one's spouse's, claim to the throne, which explains the unmarried Parker Bowles' position at the bottom of the curtsy ladder. There is some good news for Camilla, though. Should she eventually follow Prince Charles down the aisle in matrimony, roles will be reversed and the Countess would be required to bend in the knees.

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