No, the future King and Queen of the United Kingdom are not in a spat. The reason for their recent distance actually has a lot to do with the fact that Prince William and Kate Middleton’s relationship differs from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s in a pretty major way. Turns out, the pair has to be really careful about PDA—you know, for professionalism’s sake! But how were we all supposed to know that when the BBC aired that viral clip of Kate shrugging her husband’s hand off her shoulder?
Earlier this week, the BBC’s A Berry Royal Christmas special was released, and everyone jumped on the moment. Prince William reached out to put his hand on Kate’s shoulder, but she flinched and moved away. William got the message, but audiences viewed the exchange as far more sinister than it was intended. A royal source tells ET that this action was honestly on purpose. “The couple, unlike Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, do make a point to keep the PDA to a minimum in public events because they are the future King and Queen,” they said.
“Aside from William opening a door or gently guiding Kate with a hand on the back you never see them holding hands at engagements,” the source explains. “Very, very rarely you might see Kate putting her hand on William’s knee or a fun hug after competing against each other sailing or rowing while laughing.”
But it doesn’t mean they love each other any less. They’re just trying to be mindful of their public appearance.
“That’s a conscious effort by the couple to be respectful of their role. Harry and Meghan have much more latitude to be tactile,” adds ET’s source. “It’s not frowned upon. It’s just a decision about the way they conduct themselves. Kate’s mindful that she was being recorded by multiple cameras and just wanted to remain professional.”
So if it’s any comfort, now we know that there wasn’t any harm meant by Kate’s reaction to her husband. In fact, according to ET’s source, “The couple is happy, in a good place and devoted to their family.” That’s all the confirmation we need, just in time for the holidays!