Kate Middleton's best reactions at sports events: 32 times the Princess of Wales lost her cool

The Princess of Wales is prim, proper and poised... unless she's in the crowd for Wimbledon, rugby and other favourite sports

Two photos of Kate Middleton watching Wimbledon from the royal box
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Catherine, Princess of Wales is the very definition of refinement and grace... most of the time. 

While fans have loved Kate's evolution over the years, from the teenage girlfriend of Prince William to the elegant Princess of Wales and future Queen, every now and then she lets her hair down and offers up some truly memorable reactions when watching a sports game. 

From uninhibited cheering at Wimbledon to tense reactions at the rugby, we've picked some of the funniest photos over the years.

Kate Middleton's best reactions at sports events

Serving up a memorable reaction at Wimbledon

Kate Middleton and Prince William at Wimbledon 2014

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Prince William and Kate Middleton enjoyed a glamorous day out for the men's singles final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in 2014. 

Kate, an avid tennis lover who has even played a few sets with the likes of former World Number One Roger Federer and British champion Emma Raducanu, is a regular in the royal box at Wimbledon each year, often bringing her children, her parents or her sister, Pippa Middleton. 

For the 2014 final, Kate let her emotions out in full force in this hilarious candid moment, pulling some comical expressions as the tennis giants fought it out on the court.

The Making of a Royal Romance by Katie Nicholl | £8.28 at Amazon

The Making of a Royal Romance by Katie Nicholl | £8.28 at Amazon

Published in 2011, this provides a fascinating insight into the lives of Prince William and Kate. It reflects back on her childhood, her close family and her romance with the future King. The book goes up to the preparations for the couple's fairytale wedding and also focuses on their life in Wales together.

Pure joy at Wimbledon 2022

Kate Middleton

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In 2022, the Princess of Wales was back in the royal box to take in more thrilling tennis action - this time watching the men's final between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios. 

Not only was the sun shining - causing the Princess to rely on a stylish pair of Bvlgari 8170 sunglasses (sadly no longer sold!) - but Kate's face was lit up with pure joy as she cheered on the finalists. 

Catherine wore a floaty, navy blue polka dot dress by Alessandra Rich, matching the sunny vibes.

Mum-daughter time

Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte at Wimbledon

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While fans have got used to seeing Kate Middleton's unfiltered and memorable reactions at various sporting events, the Princess typically keeps her composure more when she's joined by her children. 

For Wimbledon 2023, Kate swapped her hilarious expressions for something even more special - teaching Princess Charlotte all the ins and outs of the game she loves. 

Princess Charlotte is clearly getting the tennis bug like her mother, as she looks on fascinated by whatever her mum is pointing out.

Will we be seeing Charlotte clapping, fretting and pulling her own amusing expressions in the future? We certainly hope so!

Hiding her face

Kate Middleton watching Wimbledon, 2023

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Arguably one of the most photographed faces in the world, the Princess of Wales was so overcome with nerves or shock during the 2023 Wimbledon tournament that she buried her face in her hands. 

Still, it was easy to guess who was hiding behind those hands - thanks in part to the gesture giving fans a clear glimpse of Kate's iconic sapphire engagement ring. 

It's hard not to hone in on the one-of-a-kind gem, which previously belonged to Princess Diana. The ring features a stunning 12-carat, oval, blue sapphire and is surrounded by 14 brilliant cut, round solitaire diamonds. 

Looking bamboozled

Kate Middleton

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The Princess of Wales attended the women's semi-finals of Wimbledon looking like a ray of sunshine (not always a guarantee in the British summer). 

Wearing a bright yellow dress with contrasting white panels - believed to be a bespoke version of Roksanda Illincic’s Ryedale dress - Kate was a picture of joy... except for her face, which carried an expression of utter bewilderment. 

Another amusing example of how nothing gets the Princess of Wales to really let loose more than a day of sports. 

For Kate's summery Wimbledon look, she also wore a classic pair of RayBan Wayfarer folding sunglasses - one of her go-to pairs. 

The definition of tense

Kate Middleton reacting to the 2012 Olympics

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Kate Middleton's reactions can be so visceral and intense that, years later and completely removed from the sport, we almost feel our shoulders tense up in empathy. 

During the London Olympics in 2012, the Princess of Wales was clearly full of patriotism, getting so invested in cheering on Team GB that she looked full of angst and nerves.

Young love at the rugby in 2007 (with a royal third wheel)

Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton

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Back in 2007, both Prince William and Kate Middleton were just a few years out of university. The graduates and young lovers were finding their feet, and enjoying plenty of relatable fun days out. 

Kate joined her boyfriend and her future brother-in-law, Prince Harry, for a day out at Twickenham Stadium to cheer on the English rugby team. 

Completely relaxed and with less pressure than they have today, the fresh-faced bunch looked like they were having a great time.

A hearty laugh

Kate Middleton and Prince William

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Kate Middleton's sporting prowess is well documented - with the Princess of Wales being adept at everything from hockey to tennis and cold water swimming. 

There must be something about watching sports, therefore, that makes her feel comfortable. During a visit to Wimbledon in 2018, Kate nearly stole focus in a vibrant yellow Dolce and Gabbana dress. 

But it was her reactions with Prince William that were really memorable and sweet - including the Princess letting her hair down and enjoying a carefree laugh. 

Nervously hiding behind her iconic locks

Kate Middleton during the 2012 Olympic Games

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Kate Middleton - a former hockey player herself during her school days - cheered on the Women's Hockey team during the 2012 London Olympic Games. 

Maybe it's because she has a particular affinity for the sport and wanted to cheer on her sisters in the sport, but Kate was *really* into this specific game, so much so that we saw her do something we haven't seen her do since - use her hair as a shield. 

The world is pretty much obsessed with the Princess of Wales' hair - and people cannot get enough of her best-ever hairstyle over the years - but it seems even Kate can't resist her own locks when she's nervous. 

Big celebrations

Kate Middleton and Prince William

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Between the Wales's, there are numerous sports patronages and presidencies, including the Football Association and England Rugby. 

So, for two such sporty ambassadors, it's perhaps no surprise the 2012 London Olympic Games were such a huge moment - and why both William and Kate got fully invested when watching their events. 

The couple attended as many games as possible, and Kate was never afraid of letting her excitement show. 

Looking like she won big at Cheltenham

Kate Middleton and friends at the Cheltenham horse racing in 2007

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Back in 2007, Kate Middleton attended the Cheltenham horse races with some friends - and she didn't exactly have much of a poker face. 

Flashing a cheesy, hopeful grin, it's likely that Kate was cheering on her horse in one of the races, perhaps hoping for a big win which she could go and spend at some of her favourite stores, like Aspinal of London. 

A mum and son moment

Kate Middleton and Prince George

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Kate Middleton got to share another sporty moment with one of her children in 2022, when she was joined by Prince George for the England versus Wales rugby match. 

Wearing a chic blazer with gold buttons and a checked print, Kate was excitedly pointing things out to her son, making sure he didn't miss a moment of the action. 

George has inherited his parents' sportiness, having a love for the same football club as his dad (Aston Villa) and even enjoying a tennis lesson with former World Number One Roger Federer. 

Reacting to something shocking at Wimbledon

Kate Middleton and Prince William at Wimbledon

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The Prince and Princess of Wales made a stylish appearance at Wimbledon in 2019, wearing complementary shades of blue and similar sunnies.

And it wasn't just their attire that was matching - the invested couple wore equal expressions of shock and excitement as they cheered on the pros at the mens' final.

A sweet moment of affection with William

Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton

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While relationships have soured since Harry left for California (and wrote his bombshell memoir, Spare), Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry used to be quite the dynamic trio. 

In 2015, they enjoyed a day out together to watch England take on Wales in the rugby. 

Clearly swept up in the environment, fans got a rare glimpse of PDA from William and Kate, who snuggled up to each other amidst all the excitement.

Like mother, like daughter

Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte cheering at Wimbledon

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Princess Charlotte proved the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree when she joined her mum for a thrilling Wimbledon appearance in 2023.

Both mum and daughter let their excitement be known, with Kate flashing the most infectious smile. Charlotte took it even further, practically levitating out of her chair.  A truly adorable mother-daughter moment.

Getting in on the forced fun

Michael Middleton and Kate Middleton doing a mexican wave

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For many people, organised dances and forced fun is a daunting thought. Now, imagine if most of the crowd were staring at you because you were the future Queen. 

Kate Middleton proved how game she was during an appearance at Wimbledon 2021. Kate, accompanied by her father, Michael Middleton, went all in and took part in a Mexican wave.

A look of utter disbelief

Kate Middleton and Olympics ambassador Robin Cousins

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This was a priceless reaction caught on camera, showing the Princess of Wales looking utterly scandalised by something. 

Whatever she’s just seen or been told, her feelings about it are written all over her face.

Kate was attending an event at the 2012 London Olympics, and was having a chat with Team GB ambassador Robin Cousins.  

A shared expression with the crowds

Kate Middleton watching Wimbledon in 2017

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In 2017, Kate Middleton paid another visit to the iconic Wimbledon tournament - only this time it was her first official visit since being appointed Royal Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Keeping cool in the warm weather, Kate opted for a light, black-and-white polka dot dress from Dolce & Gabbana. 

Despite the eye-catching print, Kate's facial expression is what everyone paid attention to, as she (and actor Dominic Cooper sat behind her) gave a very dramatic reaction to something.

A head-in-her-hands moment at the Olympics

Prince William and Kate Middleton at the 2012 Olympics swimming

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Prince William and Kate Middleton visited the London Olympics Aquatic Centre in 2012 to cheer on Team GB - but it was the Princess of Wales's reactions that made the biggest splash. 

Whether she was averting her eyes from some tight budgie smugglers or she was just incredibly tense wanting to will Team GB to victory, it all got too much and she had to hide her face completely in her hands. 

Looking star struck with Roger Federer

Kate Middleton and Roger Federer

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We love this shot of Kate Middleton sitting next to Roger Federer during the Wimbledon finals in 2023 purely because her reaction is super relatable and endearing. 

We're used to seeing the Princess of Wales looking polished to perfection, from her incredible style to glittering tiara moments, so seeing her looking a tad star-struck as she sits next to a tennis legend was a charming moment.  

Chewing on her lips

Two photos of Kate Middleton's reactions at Wimbledon 2014

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From biting her lips to looking stressed, it was an intense round of tennis for Kate (and she wasn't even playing!).

In 2014, Late Middleton was once again front and centre for the dramas of Wimbledon's centre court. This time, the Princess of Wales was present for the clash between Britain's Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov. 

Having some patriotic allegiances on play, Kate was perhaps even more invested than usual, which could explain why her facial expressions ran the gamut. 

A grimace during the big game

Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry at the rugby in 2015

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Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry joined forces for the opening of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. 

Whatever the trio witnessed must have really been something based on their memorable reactions. Prince Harry was compelled to get out of his chair and dramatically gesture at something, Prince William remained stony-faced and Kate looked utterly stunned as she appeared to flinch. 

A peek over her sunglasses moment

Kate Middleton

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Sometimes a picture tells the whole story, and this one of Kate dramatically taking off her sunglasses really captures her mood at the time. 

Almost like something from a Hollywood movie, Kate was caught removing her Victoria Beckham sunglasses so she could fully take in the drama taking place on the court. 

If that moment wasn't already stylish enough, the Princess was unmissable in an appropriately coloured tennis-ball green Self-Portrait dress. 

A candid model moment

Kate Middleton wearing a straw hat at Wimbledon

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This photo of Kate Middleton reacting to the 2022 Wimbledon tournament might not have the Princess pulling a funny expression, but it deserves a spot on the list solely because of how iconic the candid image turned out. 

With an almost model-like pose, Kate was caught beating the heat in her L.K. Bennett Saffron Sun Hat. 

Despite looking effortlessly iconic, Kate actually broke the rules here. 

Per Wimbledon's traditional rules, "Ladies are asked not to wear hats, as they tend to obscure the vision of those seated behind them."

On very hot days, Wimbledon will pass around their own hats to Royal Box attendees, bearing the the tournament's purple and green colours on a ribbon.

William and Kate caught up in the excitement

Prince William and Kate Middleton

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They are usually a touch more reserved when out and about in public, so fans loved Kate Middleton and Prince William's jubilant, affectionate reactions during the 2012 London Olympics. 

The royal couple couldn't help but get caught up in the moment - especially as the sporty pair got to witness Team GB win gold during a track cycling event. 

They showed no hesitation in embracing as they flashed some huge smiles. 

Chewing on her nails

Prince William and Kate Middleton

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The Princess of Wales was caught doing a bad habit during the 2012 London Olympics - chewing on her nails. 

Kate, joined by her husband, were there to cheer on the tennis, and we already know how much she loves the sport, which could explain the nervous nail-biting.

We just hope she wasn't wearing some of her favourite nail polish at the time.

A look of genuine fear

Kate Middleton at Wimbledon 2023

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This one really speaks for itself. 

While she looked majestic in an emerald green dress by Roland Mouret, it was her reactions that stole the show. 

Kate Middleton was in the royal box for the 2023 Wimbledon men's final, and whatever was occurring on the centre court was enough to make the Princess of Wales recoil in horror. 

Matching family reactions

Prince Harry, Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Edward

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The royals were quite the picture when they united to cheer on Team GB hockey players, having a near-identical reaction. 

Prince Harry, Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Edward enjoyed a family day out for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and there was a collective gasp experienced by the family members. 

She can't even watch...

Kate Middleton and Prince William

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The rugby match between Australia and Wales proved too much for Kate Middleton in 2015. 

Accompanying her husband, Prince William, Kate was no doubt full of anxiety as they cheered on the Welsh team (they would, in 2022, become Prince and Princess of Wales after all). 

Every sports fan can relate to this moment of Kate having to look away, hoping that closing your eyes will magically make your team score. 

Wincing with Prince Edward

Kate Middleton and Prince Edward

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A duo that are rarely pictured together, the now Princess of Wales sat with the current Duke of Edinburgh back in 2014 as they cheered on Team GB athletes for the Commonwealth Games. 

We love how the two clearly bonded over their love for the sports, so much so that they basically reacted in unison. 


Two photos of Kate Middleton watching the Wimbledon final

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Just looking at these photos of Kate Middleton is enough to remind us to unclench our jaws and do some relaxation exercises. 

Kate was in the royal box during the 2014 Wimbledon tournament but it looked a far cry from a relaxing day out.

Pulling a wide range of emotive expressions, the Princess was caught getting very involved in the match between Simone Halep and Sabine Lisicki. 

Looking ecstatic at Ascot

Duchess Sophie and Kate Middleton at Royal Ascot, 2023

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The Princess of Wales looked utterly radiant in a red dress by Alexander McQueen paired with a matching hat by Philip Treacy during a visit to the Royal Ascot races in 2023. 

The always-stylish Catherine was joined by Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, and while she looked effortlessly cool and refined, she let her excitement show as she celebrated what we can assume was a successful flutter on the races. 

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.