When Prince William Uses This Seemingly Innocuous Word, Princess Kate Knows He’s Angry with Her

It’s certainly not a word you’d expect in this context.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Prince and Princess of Wales have enjoyed a loving relationship for over two decades—but, like any couple, they have their rows from time to time. A royal author claimed, per The Mirror, that William employs a seemingly innocuous word in conversation with Kate to indicate that he is angry with her—and, admittedly, it’s one you might not expect.

If William said this word to his wife around anyone else—be it a private secretary or a member of the public—no one would think twice. But Kate knows its implications, and that it means her husband is cross with her.

Prince William and Kate Middleton at an engagement together

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Royal author Tom Quinn wrote in his book Gilded Youth: An Intimate History of Growing Up in the Royal Family that when William is upset with Kate, he indicates his displeasure with one word: "darling." Typically, William’s pet names for Kate are “babe” or “babykins,” but when he’s mad, “he is more likely to call her darling,” The Mirror writes. (William and Kate, who both have a keen sense of humor, also have rather snarky nicknames for one another: William refers to Kate as “Duchess of Dolittle,” a jab at Kate’s reputation for not taking on as many engagements as other members of the royal family, and Kate calls William “Baldy,” for, um, obvious reasons.) Quinn said that calling Kate “darling” is one of the “signs of his annoyance” with his wife, and that William’s tone of voice would also likely change in those circumstances.

Quinn added that the couple is prone to occasional but fierce fights, “during which they may even throw things at one another,” The Mirror reports. “But he noted that any conflict between the Waleses is likely to be short-lived.” 

The royal author credits Kate’s ability to remain level headed as the reason for that: “She’s the one who will pour oil on troubled waters and go, ‘Let’s not stir things up,’” Quinn said. “Kate is an appeaser by instinct, and William always gives way,” meaning that the pair easily make up when confrontation arises in their marriage.

Prince William and Kate Middleton at a royal engagement

(Image credit: Getty Images)

William and Kate are also reported to have a firm “no shouting” rule when it comes to their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, “and they will instead remove whichever of their kids are misbehaving from the situation and talk about whatever issue has arisen with them calmly,” The Mirror reports.

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.