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Meghan Markle Jokes That Learning to Curtsy for Queen Elizabeth II Was Like Going to ‘Medieval Times’

Putting on a show? Meghan Markle recalled feeling like a fish out of water while curtsying in front of Queen Elizabeth II for the first time.

Related: Inside Meghan Markle's Relationship With Queen Elizabeth II Over the Years

“My grandmother was the first senior member of the royal family that Meghan met,” Prince Harry explained during the second episode of Netflix’s Harry & Meghan documentary series, which premiered on Thursday, December 8. “She had no idea what it all consisted of, so it was a bit of a shock to the system for her.”

Meghan, 41, agreed with her husband, calling the encounter with the late royal “surreal.” The Suits alum revealed that she only found out about the meeting as she and Harry, 38, were on the way to the Royal Lodge in Windsor, England, for lunch in 2017.

Meghan Markle Jokes That Learning to Curtsy Was Like Going to ‘Medieval Times’ Ahead of Meeting Queen Elizabeth II - 879 Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit Cheshire, UK - 14 Jun 2018
Meghan Markle, Queen Elizabeth II. Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

“There wasn’t some big moment of like, ‘And now you’re going to meet my grandmother,’” she recalled. “I remember being in the car and he was like, ‘you know how to curtsey right?’ and I just thought it was a joke.”

As Meghan got closer to the royal family’s estate, she realized “this is a big deal.” The Bench author, however, wasn’t fully prepared to curtsy in real time.

“Americans will understand this, we have Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. It was like that,” she joked. “Like, I curtsied as if I was [bowing down to the floor].”

Related: Doria's Debut! Harry, Meghan's Netflix Show: Biggest Episode 2 Revelations

Meghan gestured to just low she curtsied noting that once she popped up, she said, “Pleasure to meet you, Your Majesty” and thought, “Was that OK?”

The California native, who married Harry in May 2018, added: “It was so intense. I didn’t know what I was doing.”

The prince, for his part, had no idea how to “explain” the protocol to his then-girlfriend. “How do you explain that you bow to your grandmother? And that you will need to curtsy, especially to an American,” he told the cameras. “That’s weird.” (Elizabeth died in September at age 96.)

Meghan Markle Jokes That Learning to Curtsy Was Like Going to ‘Medieval Times’ Ahead of Meeting Queen Elizabeth II - 880 Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony, Buckingham Palace, London, UK - 26 Jun 2018
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth II. Shutterstock

Meghan later revealed that while she “knew that there was a protocol for how things were done” in the royal family, she really couldn’t comprehend how much she had to learn.

“Do you remember that old movie Princess Diaries with Anne Hathaway?” she asked during episode 3 of the couple’s miniseries. “There’s no class [where] some person goes, ‘Sit like this, cross your legs like this, use this fork, don’t do this, curtsy then, wear this kind of hat.’ It doesn’t happen.”

The Tig founder — who shares son Archie, 3, and daughter Lili, 18 months, with Harry — noted that she “needed to learn a lot, including the national anthem.” Meghan ultimately turned to the internet for help, confessing, “I Googled it!”

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When it came to perfecting the royal wave, Meghan laughed, saying, “That’s not a thing.” The “Archetypes” podcast host later pointed out, “I guess you don’t want to wave like an American. Everything is just … smaller.”

Meghan described the whole experience as a “baptism by fire” as she navigated the British press, public and her eventual in-laws.

The couple, who stepped back from their senior royal duties in early 2020, have since relocated to the United States. They previously spoke out against The Firm during a May 2021 tell-all special and their Netflix documentary will tell even more of their story in their own words.

Harry & Meghan is streaming now on Netflix.

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