Kate Middleton is a royal etiquette whiz — even when it means stepping aside for her husband!
In a video that recently resurfaced on TikTok, Kate and Prince William visited the Foundling Museum — which tells the story of the 18th-century Foundling Hospital, the U.K.’s first children’s charity. In the clip, which amassed nearly 900,000 views in a week, Kate is seen approaching their greeters first. However, she makes small chit-chat while she hangs back and waits for William to make his way over. Prince William is then the first to do handshakes with the greeters, and Kate then follows his lead.
While the couple was not yet the Prince and Princess of Wales — the visit took place in Jan. 2022, when their highest titles were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — Prince William is the future monarch, so Kate makes sure to let him take the lead during joint events.
Prince William often returns the favor and plays the role of the supportive spouse, letting Princess Kate take center stage at events where she is the patron of the organization or highlighting a cause close to her heart.
At Wimbledon this summer, Prince William joined his wife — along with their two eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte — at the men’s finals. Because Kate is the patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, William fell back and let her take the lead as they met staff, volunteers and players at the match.
Prince William and Princess Kate’s partnership will be vital as they take on more and more royal responsibilities.
“In one sense, hers and William’s was a modern royal marriage, in that it was a love match,” Sarah Gristwood, author of Elizabeth: The Queen and the Crown, previously told PEOPLE. “But in another, it has been old-fashioned. She mostly appears as a supportive figure to her husband.”
That supportive role is vastly important to the future monarch. And while she is a star in her own right, Kate knows her place within the royal family.
“She’s never trying to outshine him in any way,” said royal biographer Penny Junor. “I think that Kate is a bit like Prince Philip supporting the Queen. She doesn’t outshine William but still has a lot to say herself.”
From her expert curtsies to some clever autograph alternatives, Princess Kate is a protocol pro — and always makes sure to show respect to members of the royal family.
A video of the Princess of Wales from her April 2022 engagement with Princess Anne has garnered over 3 million views on TikTok for her subtle way of making sure Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter took the lead at the headquarters of the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. They arrived together via car, with Kate exiting on the side closer to the sidewalk. However, she stood outside for a moment while Princess Anne made her way around the back of the vehicle. Kate then paced herself a step or two behind, allowing Anne to be the first to shake hands with their greeter at the entrance.
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According to Debrett’s, Princess Kate outranks blood members of the royal family — but only when she’s with Prince William. The same goes for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
“Protocol dictates that when the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex are not accompanied by their husbands, Princess of the Royal Blood, such as Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, rank above them. However, when the Duchesses are accompanied by their husbands, the roles are reversed and the duchesses outrank the princesses,” they state.