Kate Middleton’s ‘awkward’ rejection of Prince William’s romantic gesture left fans divided

Kate Middleton seemed to ‘reject’ Prince William’s affection as they joined TV royalty for a special appearance.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the traditional Easter Sunday church service at St George's Chapel
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Kate Middleton’s apparent “rejection” of Prince William’s romantic gesture during a TV appearance was branded “awkward” by some fans, while others rushed to defend her “professionalism”.


Kate Middleton was dubbed “Children’s Princess” when earlier this month it was announced she would read a bedtime story on BBC children’s channel, Cbeebies. This TV venture came after Kate stole the show with her impressive piano performance in December as she hosted the Together at Christmas carol concert which was broadcast on ITV. After all her years as a senior royal, Kate is no stranger to TV appearances, although there’s one festive special that perhaps stands out. 

Back in 2019, Kate and Prince William joined baking royalty Dame Mary Berry for an unforgettable feel-good festive TV special. A Berry Royal Christmas had everything you could want to get you in the Christmas spirit, as viewers spotted an “iconic” moment between Kate and Mary. It wasn’t the only thing they noticed, however, as Prince William appeared to make a rare display of public affection towards his wife. 

And fans were left seriously divided by the Duchess’ response, with some dubbing the moment “awkward” after she appeared to “reject” the gesture. 

As reported by The Mirror, this surprising moment occurred after Prince William and Kate sat down to talk to charity volunteers. It reportedly looked as though the Queen’s grandchild was attempting to place his hand lovingly on his wife’s shoulder. Although instead of accepting this adorable gesture, it seemed to fans as if the Duchess moved away to prevent it. 

Whether or not it was intentional, this tiny detail didn’t go unnoticed and left viewers seriously divided as many perceived Kate’s movement as “shaking off” Prince William’s touch. 

According to the publication, one Twitter user declared at the time, “Awkward! Too awkward!! They should have cut it out."

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“Kate shaking off William's hand on her shoulder during #ABerryRoyalChristmas”, one person commented simply, reflecting on what they’d perceived.

While another claimed the Duchess of Cambridge “moved with quickness” in response. However others defended Kate’s reaction, as one supposedly shared, “I like the way they interact, it’s professional. I don’t want to see excessive hand holding and back rubbing. It’s awkward, like you’re intruding on a private moment."

"LOOK WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Kate is beautifully content as William’s hand rests on her shoulder. FIRST William STARTS to remove his hand, AFTER Kate simply shifts”, someone else added.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the 'Together at Christmas' community carol service

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Royal Family are known for their professional approach to joint appearances, and romantic displays such as hand holding are rare for royal couples undertaking engagements. However, it’s thought that the Duke and Duchess “relaxed” royal rules since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “stepped back” in 2020. In October last year, William and Kate’s “gentle PDA”, public display of affection, at the Earthshot Prize 2021 awards captured fans’ imaginations. 

Despite romantic gestures now being less unusual for royal couples, it perhaps makes sense that Kate Middleton and Prince William's TV appearance back in 2019 saw the Duchess’ behavior stay more on what might be seen as the “professional” side.

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.