Despite What Docuseries Claims, Kate Middleton is a “Big Hugger,” Her Friend Says

“It comes naturally to her to be like that.”

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

The Princess of Wales is largely left out of the criticism leveled against the royal family in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s six-part Netflix docuseries, but perhaps her most notable mention happened when Meghan recalled the first time she met Kate, when the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came over for dinner at Harry and Meghan’s home.

Meghan recalled that she (Meghan herself) was “in ripped jeans and barefoot” and said “I was a hugger—always been a hugger. I didn’t realize that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits.” She then added “I guess I’d start to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside. There is a forward-facing way of being, and then you close the door, and you relax now. But that formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me.”

But the implication that Kate isn’t a hugger isn’t true, a friend tells People—in fact, she is quite affectionate.

“Kate’s a big hugger,” the friend says. “She is warm and friendly and greets everyone with a big hug and kiss. It comes naturally to her to be like that.”

Kate’s natural affection was on full display last Thursday at the Christmas carol concert she hosted at Westminster Abbey, where she curtsied to her father-in-law King Charles, enthusiastically high-fived children, and chatted with guests. Her warmth was especially evident when she welcomed husband Prince William and two of her three children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, to the Abbey, body language expert Judi James tells The Mirror.

“It is so sweet to watch Kate walking out to host her husband and two of her children when they arrive in their car,” James says. “She stands waiting as the doors are opened and there is a moment of what looks like excitement as they all pour out. The group form a solid-looking lineup to walk in together, with Kate firmly in the lead as host of the event. William holds onto Charlotte’s hand but, although Kate allows her hand to hang close to George’s, she seems aware that he might prefer to walk in without holding on, although he receives a gently guiding hand on the back from Kate. Kate looks excited to show her children the decorations at the event.”

James also notes Kate’s “signals of determination and resilience as she emerges alone from her car here. There is the flicking of her hair back to sweep away from her face on the right side, which is a signal of confidence as she makes sure that her face is totally visible to the cameras as she walks into the venue. Tossing your hair about is always a sign of bravado and an intention to be strong and hold your head up high. She also walks with a wide stride. This is a hard trick to pull off in high-heeled court shoes, which again suggests a determination to look resilient and determined.”

As for William? James notes that he adopted a “tough guy” swagger at the event, held the same day that the final three parts of Harry & Meghan were released worldwide. 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.