The Cast Of ‘The Lion King’ Had To Follow Very Strict Protocol When Meeting Meghan Markle And Prince Harry

Billy Eichner at the Lion King premiere.
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

The cast of The Lion King learned a real lesson in royalty this week.

The star-studded cast of the Disney remake showed up in London for the U.K. premiere of the movie, and had a chance to meet Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But as actor Billy Eichner explained, the cast had some very, very strict rules for how they could interact with the British royalty.

In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week, the voice of the meerkat Timon said that the actors were given a rundown of the exact way they needed to greet Prince Harry and his American wife. As E! News reported, the rules were even more strict for Eichner’s guest.

“You’re supposed to say, ‘Your Royal Highness,’ you can’t speak until your hands are in a handshake with his,” Eichner said. “My guest I brought with me, my very good friend Jared, they said he had to stand behind me and not speak unless he was spoken to.”

But Eichner said he had a feeling the rules were not the same for everyone.

“I’m not kidding!” the actor continued. “I was like, ‘Does that same rule apply to Jay-Z?’ I have a feeling it doesn’t!”

Eichner isn’t the only one who had some thoughts about the way they needed to approach Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In an interview on the British talk show This Morning, actor Seth Rogen said it was unusual to meet people who came with their own set of personal interaction protocol.

“And then I think what we were trying to gauge is how many people were following the protocol and how strict the protocol is,” he said.

Who knew Meghan Markle went to college with Billy Eichner? https://t.co/2ZaDWRwpRM

— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) July 15, 2019

As Eichner added, keeping up with those strict rules didn’t seem to work for everyone.

“We were watching what our friend Keegan (Keegan-Michael Key) did and he ended up doing none of the protocol either and just kind of nodded his head, then it all fell apart,” he shared.

Keeping the protocol may have been extra awkward for Billy Eichner given his history with Meghan Markle. As Entertainment Tonight noted, the two go way back as they both attended Northwestern University and were in the theater program. Eichner noted that Meghan was a freshman when he was a senior, so they weren’t exactly the best of friends, but the actor said he was excited to connect to Meghan and see what she remembered about the program.