This Is Why Prince William and Kate Middleton Rarely Show PDA

Hint: It’s because of the Queen!

When it comes to beloved couples, Prince William and Kate Middleton are in a league of their own. Not only are they poised, respectful, and surprisingly down-to-earth, but they also perform their family duties flawlessly—and still find some time to advocate for charitable causes in between. Plus, having three super cute kiddos around doesn’t hurt, either.

But when this couple is photographed while out and about, fans might notice that there’s one important thing missing: handholding. Or any public displays of affection at all, really. What gives?

No need to worry; their relationship isn’t on the rocks. The real reason is way simpler—and more practical—than you think. According to Myka Meier, a royal etiquette expert, it’s what any person would do when they’re on the job.

“The likely reasoning is more that while traveling on a tour such as the India trip, technically the couple is working representatives of British Monarchy,” she told PEOPLE. “The couple are likely to show very little PDA, if any, to remain professional during their designated roles abroad.” Here are 18 other etiquette rules the royals always have to follow.

While there’s no bona fide restriction on PDA, royal family members tend to refrain while on official business for Her Majesty. Plus, our favorite royal pair is not the first to follow this unspoken rule. Queen Elizabeth II rarely holds hands with her husband Prince Philip in public, either, and for the same reason. (And here’s why the Queen wears so many bright outfits.)

Still, that doesn’t mean Prince William and Kate don’t like to let loose every once in a while. They just choose to do so sparingly and at the right moments, such as during a soccer game or while on a hike. As longtime royals writer Judy Wade told PEOPLE, “Different types of occasions call for different types of behavior.”

Here’s them during the 2012 Olympics, for instance:

prince william and kate middletonShutterstock

Prince William has also been seen putting his arm around his wife—a very innocent, but a loving gesture. Here they are in 2018 at the annual Irish Guards St. Patrick’s Day Parade at Cavalry Barracks.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Attend The Irish Guards St Patrick's Day ParadeMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Then another loving moment of PDA was shown between the royal couple in April 2018 when they presented their newborn son, Louis, to the world outside of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital.

The Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge Depart The Lindo Wing With Their New SonAnwar Hussein/Getty Images

So, William and Kate admirers, lay your fears to rest; this couple’s marriage is solid. And, if you want to get an inside look at the couple, check out the tiny details you probably missed about Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.

Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.