Kate Middleton Once Had a ‘Major’ Violation of Royal Protocol at Wimbledon

The horror!

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kate Middleton has been enjoying the perks of being a royal this week.The avid tennis fan has attended the Wimbledon tennis championship with Prince William in town at several points during the competition, and even watched both the women’s and men’s finals from the luxe Royals Box. On Sunday, she brought Prince George, himself a tennis player, to watch the final match-up between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios. 

Kate has more than just a spectator role at UK tennis events, however. As holder of the title Patron of the All England Club, Kate is responsible for handing out trophies to the winners at the end of the competition. And it was precisely during such a scenario that Kate is rumored to have made a “major” break in royal protocol. 

According to Express UK, in 2019, after Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in the Wimbledon men’s final, Kate congratulated the winner and then affectionately comforted Federer by putting her arm around him and telling him his playing was “incredible.” 

kate middleton roger federer

(Image credit: Getty Images)

That right there. Do you see it? Where she gently touches Federer's arm. That was the major break from royal protocol. Are you scandalized?

Let’s break it down: Typically, the royals are supposed to be reserved at tennis matches—something that Kate, as well as Prince William and Prince Harry, have pretty much thrown out the window when it comes to supporting their favorite teams. (Prince William was even clocked cursing about a Wimbledon match earlier this week, a big no-no for the future heir of the kingdom.)

So Kate’s display of friendliness toward Fed, putting her hand on his shoulder and whatnot, was seen as a break from that typical reservedness.

Of course, Federer—considered by some to be the greatest male tennis player of all time—has a long history with the royals. Prince William and Kate have previously cheered him on during his match-up in the 2017 Wimbledon finals, and Federer even once gave Prince George a private tennis lesson.

The takeaway here is that royal protocol is pretty silly, and I think we can all forgive Kate for violating it in this instance.

Marie Claire is committed to celebrating the richness and scope of women's lives. We're known for our award-winning features, thoughtful essays and op-eds, deep commitment to sustainable fashion, and buzzy interviews and reviews. Reaching millions of women every month, MarieClaire.com is an internationally-recognized destination for celebrity news, fashion trends, beauty recommendations, and renowned investigative packages.