Joaquin Phoenix has made a name for himself as one of the most respected actors working today, however even he tried to adhere to royal protocol when he met Prince William. The pair were introduced at the BAFTAs over the weekend and a video has emerged of Phoenix curtsying to the Duke of Cambridge after the show.
The video - which can be seen above - saw Prince William greet Phoenix and say, “Lovely to meet you.”
In response, Phoenix said "hello" dropped low in a grand curtsy.
According to the Royal Family’s official website, the correct protocol for men meeting members of the Royal Family is to actually perform a ‘neck bow’. Previously, Prince Charles’ former butler and royal expert Grant Harrold told Evening Standard Insider, “There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”
“Whatever you choose to do, I can assure you that you will not be escorted to the Tower!” he continued.
Regardless of Phoenix’s gaffe (or joke), Prince William clearly didn’t seem to mind as he was later seen having an animated conversation with him, BAFTA winning director Taika Waititi and another woman. Phoenix was also seen patting Prince William on the back, another action which typically is advised against when meeting royals.
Lucy Hume, the associate director of etiquette experts DeBrett’s, said to Reuters that it was, “best not to initiate personal physical contact with a member of the royal family.”
In some instances, she said an exception could be made. She said, “It may be that they offered to give you a hug or to put their arm around you, but usually wait and see what’s expected or what’s appropriate for the event.”
Given that Prince William revealed he was a fan of Phoenix’s award-winning turn in Joker, it doesn’t seem that he would have had any problems.Prince William was heard saying, “I absolutely loved The Joker. It was brilliant.”
"I put it off and put it off watching it, as people kept telling me "be careful when you choose to watch it", but when I did it blew my mind,” he continued. “It was really good.'
Beyond Joker, Prince William and Phoenix both also gave speeches criticising the BAFTAs for its lack of diversity - with no actors of colour nominated for awards this year.
Prince William said that it “simply cannot be right in this day and age”, while Phoenix used his winners’ speech for Best Actor to reveal he felt “conflicted” about his award - saying, “I think we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here...We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism.”