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 are 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 awhile. 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:
So, William and Kate admirers, lay your fears to rest; this couple’s marriage is solid.