During their event appearances following the Queen’s death, Kate Middleton and Prince William have appeared spaced apart in stark contrast to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, whose hand holding caught the media’s attention. But during their appearance in Sandringham today, the new Prince and Princess of Wales were photographed sharing one rare moment of affection.
At one point, William put his hand on Kate’s back as the couple viewed floral tributes left for the Queen. It’s not exactly hand holding, but for Kate and William, who have always been very reserved when it comes to PDA, it’s notable. Any moment of physical contact, be it touching arms or backs, is a very uncommon sight for the prince and princess.
Both wore black in mourning of the late monarch and were generally stoic, except when they were engaging with well-wishers gathered on the scene.
Kate did smile and wave to the crowd at one point though, adding a little levity during an otherwise very somber time for the royals.
She also was very animated talking to members of the crowd there:
So, is holding hands or showing PDA of any sort during this mourning period against royal protocol? Not at all. As Beaumont Etiquette‘s founder and director Myka Meier, a British-American trained by a former member of the Queen’s household, told ELLE.com in July 2018, “It’s up to each and every royal and royal couple how affectionate they are. There’s no protocol that tells them they can’t hug or kiss or touch. There’s no rule book like that. Each senior member of the royal family is trusted to make the judgement calls of what’s appropriate and when. It’s all about being trusted to make those calls on their own.”
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.