Prince William and Kate Middleton Know When to Show PDA—And When to Hold Back: Body Language Expert

It depends what the engagement consists of.

The Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge Mark Windrush Day
(Image credit: Photo by WPA Pool / Getty)

Many commentators have remarked on how much more comfortable Prince William and Kate Middleton have seemed to display public gestures of affection in recent years—as opposed to the early years of their marriage when they could sometimes appear somewhat stilted.

However, just because they're more often seen holding hands or placing reassuring hands on each other's arms, shoulders or backs during official engagements doesn't mean that they don't know when to hold back from such gestures.

For body language expert Darren Stanton, their appearance to commemorate Windrush Day on June 22 was an example of an occasion when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge knew it was more appropriate to behave more formally, to reflect the seriousness of the day.

“While we have seen Kate and William indulge in public displays of affection before during royal engagements, they as a couple know when it is deemed appropriate," Stanton tells Marie Claire on behalf of Slingo (opens in new tab). "While they were attending a youth organization in London yesterday, we saw a noticeable distance between Kate and William. Whether they were interacting with others or walking side by side, their appearance was visibly less tactile."

For Stanton, far from signalling any troubles in their relationship, this attitude shows that they are very much on the same page when it comes to how they should appear to members of the public.

"This move was on purpose, given the nature of the event, and shows how William and Kate carry a real degree of empathy, compassion and intelligence—they want their attendance to be all about the cause they are there to support and not them as a couple," the expert adds.

Reflecting on their visit to the ELEVATE youth program in London's Brixton area on Instagram, the duke and duchess wrote, "This morning we visited ELEVATE, an innovative youth programme which aims to open up the creative and cultural sector to every young person in the Borough of Lambeth in South London.

"The programme supports the next generation of creators to hone their talents so they can succeed in a wide range of sectors—from photography to film. It was fantastic to see young people making the most of the facilities, developing their skills and aiming high as they look towards possible careers in the creative sector in the future!"

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.