Traditionally, the royals have a unique set of rules to follow, whether it’s wedding rules, carrying bags of their own blood type when they travel, how royal women are expected to walk down stairs or the one thing that’s banned in the royal kitchen.
And while Prince William and Kate Middleton have often ripped up the royal rule book, discarding royal protocol such as travelling alongside their children and not spending every Christmas with the Queen, there are some rules that cannot be broken.
But one thing that has always intrigued royal fans is the Queen’s special wave when she greets crowds. It’s famously a slow movement, as opposed to a frantic moving of the wrist, and very controlled.
According to The Royal House of Windsor, a documentary currently on Netflix, the reason for the royal wave comes down to preventing an injury.
The series delves into the history of the royal family, explaining how the Queen’s grandfather, King George V, was one of the first royals to make an effort with the public by taking on various engagements in order to gain popularity with the people.
By engaging with various individuals and greeting crowds he was expected to wave – a lot.
However, when King Edward VIII – King George V’s son – took the throne, he visited a doctor about his aching wrist as a result of all the waving and handshaking.
The series explains: ‘Once on tour, the [then] prince shook so many hands he was ordered by his doctor to rest his right hand and use his left.’
In order to minimise the potential for an injury, they developed the ‘royal wave’ that we see the family employing today, a gentler effort with the hand gliding through the air instead of starting at the wrist.
Royal commentator, Victoria Arbiter, believes it’s also classier, saying: ‘You can recognise a royal wave immediately. It’s a vertical hand with a slight twist from the wrist, a classy affair that oozes decorum but doesn’t get too excitable.’