Catherine, Princess of Wales’ Cheeky Bum Pat Last Night Was a “Sexy Reprimand,” Body Language Expert Says

Plus, a lip reader takes us inside what was said leading up to the moment.

Prince William, Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

At last night’s BAFTAs, it was the cheeky bum pat seen around the world: More and more these days, we’re seeing PDA from the Prince and Princess of Wales, and, you know what? We’re here for it. Clad in an Alexander McQueen rewear and long opera gloves, Kate playfully tapped William’s butt, but only after scolding him, a lip-reading expert reveals.

The Mirror cites body language expert Judi James as calling Kate’s bum tap a “sexy reprimand,” and lip-reading expert Jeremy Freeman takes us inside the moments right before the surprise PDA, with The Mirror calling the moment one that “might not have been quite the affectionate gesture it first seemed.”

As William and Kate make their way down the red carpet, something appears to grab Kate’s attention, and she dramatically turns her head to see what is going on behind her. She the turns back to William—who didn’t turn around—and they appear to exchange words.

“How did you miss that?” Kate asks her husband, according to Freeman.

“What?” William replies, before Kate responds “Stop ignoring”—though it can’t be deduced who or what William is being told to stop ignoring. His response? “Ignoring who?” before Kate carries out the tap on his bottom.

Body language expert James says of the moment “As they walk past the crowds, Kate seems to look back to acknowledge a complimentary comment with a smile. She then pushes her right hand out towards William’s in what looks like a cue to hold hands. William mistakenly leans in to suggest he is expecting more of the flirty whispering they have been doing, and raises his hand as his head gets closer, missing Kate’s offer. Kate then ‘rewards’ William with a pat on the bum. So this works as both a sexy ritual or appreciation and a small reprimand for missing her cue.”

This is the couple’s first return to the BAFTAs in three years, and it’s one we won’t soon forget.

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.