Prince William and Kate Middleton Are Breaking So Much Royal Protocol Right Now

They're deliberately throwing out the royal rulebook.

Prince William and Kate Middleton take a selfie with a fan in Glasgow, Scotland. Andrew Milligan / WPA Pool for Getty Images
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan / WPA Pool for Getty Images)

Royal protocol? What royal protocol?

Marie Claire recently reported on how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge—or, as they’d rather you call them, William and Catherine—intend to throw out the royal rulebook and do things their own way after their complex Caribbean tour earlier this year. And it seems their attempts to modernize the monarchy have already started, as the Mirror reports that the couple bent a royal rule recently while meeting well-wishers in Glasgow, Scotland.

While visiting the Kennishead area of Glasgow, the Cambridges “spent a short amount of time greeting as many people as they possibly could,” the outlet reports. “And it appears that during this impromptu walkabout, they bent one rule that it has been touted that all royals must abide by.”

Royals have been told in the past to refrain from taking or posing for selfies while out and about at engagements, but “while in Glasgow last week, the pair we[re] both spotted smiling for a selfie with several ladies who had turned out to see them and wanted to remember the moment.”

And that wasn’t the only bit of royal protocol broken. William broke the royal rulebook again when he embraced 66-year-old William Burns, who became overcome with emotion upon meeting the future king.

“It was a marked difference from when other members of the public usually meet royals and stick to formal handshakes and even bows or curtsies,” the Mirror says.

After the couple’s Platinum Jubilee stops in Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, William and Kate are committed to “be more approachable, less formal, less stuffy, and break away with a lot of the tradition,” a source told the Mirror. “So now it’s more ‘Wills and Kate’ instead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge…‘Just call me Wills’ type of thing. They want to try to avoid the bows and curtsies in public…and focus on a modern monarchy.” 

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.