The Princess of Wales seemed relaxed by her husband's side
Kate Middleton switched up tradition at the start of South Korea’s state visit to the U.K.
On Tuesday, the Princess of Wales, 41, made two unexpected moves while viewing a display of Korean items from the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. The tour followed a private lunch that King Charles held to welcome President Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife, First Lady Kim Keon Hee, at the start of their three-day stay.
While Princess Kate and Prince William were all business as they greeted the presidential couple (an important duty) at their hotel in London on behalf of the King, 75, Kate let her hair down later in the day. The Princess of Wales wore her hair loose during the tour in the Picture Gallery after taking down the chignon she wore at the start of the day.
Kate rarely changes her hair between engagements. In September, she kept the same knotted chignon for back-to-back outings at a church service honoring Queen Elizabeth on the first anniversary of her death and a visit to a Câr-Y-Môr Seaweed Farm in Wales.
In another twist, Prince William and Kate also surprised with a rare PDA moment on Tuesday. As seen in a video shared to X by Rebecca English of the Daily Mail, William, 41, warmly put a hand on his wife's back as they made their way out of the Picture Gallery. Turning to chat with her husband, Kate smiled and reached to hold William's back as well. The royal couple stayed this way for a few moments and Kate gave William a reassuring pat before they both dropped their arms and kept walking.
While William and Kate’s latest public display of affection might be an unusual sight, royal etiquette expert Myka Meier previously told PEOPLE that there are no formal rules on royal couples showing romance in public — it's at their own discretion.
"Senior members of the royal family would likely not be told how to interact or when they can or can not show PDA and would be trusted to use their better judgment as to when it's appropriate," Meier said. "The royals often adjust PDA to mirror the formality of the event they are attending. At a somber or more formal event, we are less likely to see PDA than at a casual event where it would be deemed more fitting."
Despite this precedent, the Prince and Princess of Wales seem to have relaxed this stance in recent months. During the celebration of King Charles' coronation in Scotland on in July, Kate was spotted with her hand on William's backside as she leaned over to chat with him. The touch was reminiscent of another love tap between the royal couple at the BAFTAs in February — as the royal couple walked the red carpet, cameras caught a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment where Kate patted William’s butt.
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The couple are also known to be relaxed with affection in sporty settings, and have kissed on the pitch at Prince William’s Royal Charity Polo Day in the summer.
Pomp and pageantry will reign later today when King Charles and Queen Camilla host a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in honor of the South Korean state visit, which the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to attend.
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