Prince William and Kate broke royal protocol over Easter after arriving after the Queen at the Easter service.
Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived a little late to Easter Mass on Sunday. The cause? Traffic. Which, hey, happens to most people. But most people aren’t part of the British royal family.
By running a few minutes behind, they showed up after famously prompt Queen Elizabeth—breaking royal protocol in the process.
Typically, the royal family arrives in order of precedence, with the most senior royal arriving last. This practice is observed at official appearances and formal occasions but even sometimes at private ones—allegedly, during Christmas at Sandringham, guests are given staggered arrival times to make sure they adhere to traditional protocol. The royal family is required to be well versed in routines like this in order to make events as seamless as possible and to ensure everyone is paying proper respect to the Queen.
In this case, Zara Tindall; Princess Eugenie and her fiancé, Jack Brooksbank; and Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, all stood and waited outside St. George’s Chapel for the Queen, curtsying and bowing as she walked past them. However, William and Kate didn’t get there until after the Queen and the rest of the family had already entered the church, throwing a wrench in the whole formal process.
William and Kate aren’t the only high-profile figures to commit this etiquette snafu. In 2013, Rod Stewart and his wife, Penny Lancaster, apologized after they kept Prince Charles waiting at an event for the Prince’s Trust, Charles’s charity.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle didn’t have to worry about Easter traffic, as they were said to have spent the holiday privately. But that’s no cause for alarm—Harry hasn’t attended the service for a few years now. Prince Philip, too, was noticeably absent, reportedly due to a bad hip that’s sidelined him from royal appearances for the past week.
If the Queen cared about her grandson’s tardiness, she didn’t show it—after the mass was over, she exited St. George’s with a big smile on her face, William and Kate in tow. After all, with the impending arrival of their third child, Prince William and Kate Middleton can’t be blamed for taking things a bit slower than usual.