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Last weekend, the Lionesses beat Germany with a 2-1 score, ending England’s 56-year wait for a trophy by claiming a first major tournament win since 1966.
As a longtime football fan himself, the Duke of Cambridge was in the crowd cheering the team on, and after the game he headed to the pitch to congratulate the players and hand over their medals.
To express his appreciation for the team, the prince also gave each of the Lionesses a hug as they celebrated their historic win.
While it was an emotional moment for the players and the fans, Prince William technically broke the royal rules that limit members of the family to formal handshakes during official engagements.
However, royal expert and the former butler of Prince Charles, Grant Harrold, has said the gesture was a ‘deliberate choice’.
Speaking to OK!, he said: “Historically, there was a rule with royals that you could look but you couldn’t touch.
“If you met a royal, you could look at them and if they offered you a handshake, you were to accept it.
“That was a lot to do with the mystique surrounding the family but also for security reasons, too.”
But as old traditions continue to be replaced by more updated practices, Harrold said Prince William’s approach represents the modern era.
He continued: “I think William and the other younger royals have realised that they can’t get away with being aloof.
“The Queen can get away with it because she’s the Queen and she’s from a different era, but the younger royals have been brought up very differently.
“Diana was a hugger and I think that this physical contact and hugging people has a lot to do with how William was raised.
“It won’t feel unnatural to William - if anything, it’d feel more uncomfortable if it was just a strict handshake. As well as this, seeing royals hug makes them relevant and modern.”
What’s more, the etiquette expert said that breaking old rules may be a way of showing the public the human side to him as he steps up his workload within the British monarchy.
Harrold explained: “As he does more work and gets to grips with his role, he wants people to see the real him which is why we’ve seen a lot more affection recently.
“He’s really eased into his role.”
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