The Queen has this DOWN. She has been doing this her whole life and is the master. Check her out here doing the side wave after her father’s coronation. It has a slight ‘screwing in a lightbulb’ turn to it:
…that she clearly learned from her dad, King George VI. That’s Prince Margaret standing to his left mimicking the same motion. What normal people wave like this? No one. That’s why it’s royal:
Here is the Queen standing in front of Camilla outside St. George’s Chapel after Peter Philips’ wedding to Autumn Kelly in May 2008. She’s got her signature side hand going here which is just so regal compared to Camilla’s open fingered (and ungloved) wave. We do love Camilla, but we’ve got to give the Queen this one:
Camilla is having more luck here:
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana must have practiced this wave before the wedding. We imagine it was one of the things on the list, right up there with “How To Exit a Car Gracefully While Wearing a Skirt.” Fingers together, hand cupped, thumb tucked in, slight head nod…that’s just not something you instinctively do. Charles’ seems more natural here.
Prince Harry is pretty easy going with his waving, much like his personality. No keeping fingers together for him! He’s always been that way, really. The picture on the left is Harry en route to Buckingham Palace after his brothers wedding, and then on the right we’ve got him practicing his royal wave on holiday in Spain with Spain’s royal family back in the ’80’s.
He’s really going for it here with William and Chelsy at the Concert for Diana, though I suppose it could be argued this is more of a dance than a wave:
William also likes the open handed wave and always has. Here he is with Diana and Harry seeing Charles off on his helicopter. That’s Highgrove in the background, the country estate where the boys grew up:
Kate follows suit sometimes:
Ok, so I have to slip this in. If you ask me, Kate and William’s wedding wave bears a striking resemblance to the one at the end of the Christmas concert in Love Actually. Maybe it’s the whole “he’s more used to this than I am” thing going on…plus these two ladies look quite similar with their long brown hair. Is it just me??
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate’s wave has really evolved. For her first official royal engagement there was a lot of this hand flapping/ finger curling going on (in Wales, below). To her credit she really took this whole royal engagement thing and made it fun. It must have been a relief; after years of photographers and people following her around, she could finally wave back:
On the day before her wedding, she gave the crowd this full on regal Queen Elizabeth side wave. That must have been seriously fun. We bet she practiced this wave with Pippa behind closed doors years ago and was just waiting to bust it out:
She’s got the formal, low wave going on here for her first Trooping the Colour carriage ride:
And even here, waving to Prince William as he flies overhead on Prince Edward Island during their Canadian tour, she’s not just flapping around. How cute is she with her camera out so she can take pictures. What a gal:
Princess Eugenie of York
Princess Eugenie could probably pick up some pointers from Kate. Not an especially regal wave, this:
Let’s end on a good note. Beatrice really has this down. The hat, the head cocked to the side, that hat at a jaunty angle, the slight but confident wave. Pure princess perfection. Well done, Bea. Keep it up!