Kate Middleton’s rule-breaking move at Wimbledon and why she might not repeat it this year

Kate Middleton’s rule-breaking move came at the Men's Doubles Final last year but it might not be repeated if she returns for the 2023 finals

Kate Middleton’s rule-breaking move at Wimbledon 2022. Seen here she attends the Men's Singles Final
(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty)

Kate Middleton’s rule-breaking move at Wimbledon might have gone unnoticed by some and it’s likely she might not repeat it this year. 

Whether it’s concerning meals, fashion or who curtseys to whom, protocol often surrounds the Royal Family and their actions. But in recent years we’ve seen Prince William and Kate Middleton in particular taking a more modern approach and departing from the royal rules. This includes them being part of selfies and hugging fans more often and Princess Kate’s red nail polish at Easter 2023 also made a statement as she moved away from the traditional nude or pink shades.  

However, Kate Middleton’s rule-breaking move at Wimbledon last year might not have been spotted by everyone. It wasn’t directly a royal rule but it concerns the Princess of Wales’ outfit choice and it’s one she might not want to repeat in 2023…

Kate Middleton talks to Martina Hingis in the royal box

(Image credit: Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Sitting in the Wimbledon Royal Box during the championships is a huge honor and as the future Queen Consort and Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Kate Middleton sits there when she visits. With this privilege comes a dress code which dictates the type of outfits that Royal Box attendees should opt for.

As revealed by Wimbledon, the dress code is “smart” with “suits/jackets and tie” for men whilst “ladies are asked not to wear hats, as they tend to obscure the vision of those seated behind them”.

So it might have come as a surprise to some that for the Men’s Doubles Final in 2022, Kate wore a straw sun hat.

Kate Middleton in the royal box during the Men's Doubles Final

(Image credit: Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Admittedly, the weather was extremely warm and it looked stunning with Kate’s yellow dress at Wimbledon. Earlier in the day she had watched the Ladies Single Final with the hat nowhere to be seen. Perhaps the weather was just a lot hotter during the Doubles Final or it could have been less busy, meaning no other attendees’ vision would be “obscure[d]”. Either way, this could be seen as a rare departure from the rules from the Princess of Wales.

Over the years other royals like Princess Beatrice have been seen wearing hats outside of the box and Meghan Markle carried a hat into the Royal Box at Wimbledon in 2018, but didn’t actually wear it.

Princess Catherine in the royal box during the Men's Doubles Final

(Image credit: Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

This year it’s unlikely that Kate Middleton’s rule-breaking move will be repeated as the UK Met Office currently have a Yellow Weather Warning for wind in place for the London area the day of the Men’s Doubles and Ladies Singles Finals. There is also some rain forecast for Day 13 of Wimbledon and so if Kate is there again she might feel a hat could get blown away or simply not be necessary. 

And if the senior royal steps out on Day 14 like she did in 2022, the forecast for Sunday is better with sunshine and cloudy spells but not swelteringly hot. With hats a royal staple for formal occasions, though, we’ll surely get to see the Princess of Wales wearing one again in the not-too-distant future. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!