Roger Federer broke royal protocol with Kate Middleton at Wimbledon years after her kind gesture did the same

Roger Federer and the Princess of Wales have met multiple times and last year the tennis star seemingly broke protocol when greeting her

Composite of a picture of Roger Federer in a cream suit ahead of a match at Wimbledon 2023 and Kate Middleton in a mint green blazer ahead of this match
(Image credit: Image 1: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty // Image 2:Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty)

Roger Federer broke protocol with the Princess of Wales at Wimbledon 2023, years after her kind gesture to him did the same.

If there’s one member of the Royal Family whose enthusiasm for tennis really stands out from all the rest it’s the Princess of Wales. Not only has she put her own skills to the test before with Emma Raducanu at an engagement, but she regularly cheers on the players courtside at Wimbledon. One player Kate sadly won’t be watching play anymore is eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer who retired in 2022. However, the pair have met on several occasions and even attended the championships sitting next to each other in 2023. 

It was then that Roger appeared to break royal protocol with Kate, six years after she did the same with a kind gesture. The Princess of Wales wore a gorgeous mint green Balmain blazer for Day 2 of Wimbledon last year and Roger Federer was pictured greeting her as he arrived amid thunderous applause to watch the match.

Former Wimbledon champion Roger Federer greets Catherine, Princess of Wales before play starts at Wimbledon 2023

(Image credit: Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

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Catherine, the Princess of Wales: A Revelatory Biography of the Future Queen by Robert Jobson | Was £22, Now £15 on pre-order at Amazon

Delving into the truth behind the headlines, this biography of the Princess of Wales is set to be published on 1st August. It's written by royal author Robert Jobson who spoke to sources both on and off the record within the Royal Household and reflects upon how Kate became the woman she is today.

The tennis star touched Kate’s back as he took his seat and this was reportedly a departure from royal protocol. It’s generally understood that you shouldn’t initiate physical contact with a member of the Royal Family, though if they do so in the form of a handshake or hug then that is ok. Whilst Roger’s move might not have strictly abided by this protocol, the Princess of Wales took this moment completely in her stride and smiled and nodded at him warmly.

This moment was captured in a special clip shared by Wimbledon’s official X (formerly known as Twitter) account. Kate and Roger Federer had met previously and are understood to have formed a friendship which was perhaps reflected in the former tennis pro’s greeting.

However, Roger isn’t the only one of the pair who’s broken protocol at Wimbledon as the Princess is said to have previously done so back in 2017. This time Roger was competing at Wimbledon and after securing his eighth victory he was congratulated by the Prince and Princess of Wales.

As reported by, Kate could be seen giving the Swiss star not one, but three kisses on the cheek. This is supposedly considered a traditional number of kisses for a greeting in Switzerland, whilst in Britain it tends to be two, and some have speculated that the Princess’s approach honoured this.

Whether or not this specifically broke with royal protocol, or just a British custom with the number of kisses, the Royal Family are generally not seen giving too many kisses on the cheek in public to anyone who isn’t a relative. It’s not unheard of, of course, and it was a lovely moment to see - especially in light of their bond.

Kate Middleton attends the Mens Singles Final at Wimbledon 2017

(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty)

Roger Federer himself revealed in 2019 that he’d given Prince William and Kate’s eldest son Prince George, who is second in the royal line of succession, tennis lessons. These reportedly took place at Carole and Michael Middleton’s Berkshire home and Roger seemed pleased with the young royal’s skills.

As per the Daily Mail, he said, “At that stage it's all about just touch the ball, it's already good. Same with my boys. I think I have a little advantage that I actually spent some time, you know, with him.”

Roger added that Kate has “always enjoyed” tennis and expressed his hope that Prince George could “say the same in a few years’ time”. As well as giving the future King some tips, the star is also apparently close with the Princess of Wales’s sister Pippa, and he and his wife Mirka attended her wedding to James Matthews in 2017.

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!