During a trip to Northern Ireland last week, Kate Middleton encountered a protester during a walk outside Carrickfergus Castle. A woman shook Kate’s hand and said, “Nice to meet you, but it would be better if it was when you were in your own country.”
The princess did not react much other than to laugh a little and shake the hands of other well-wishers, while the woman added: “Ireland belongs to the Irish.”
This is Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first trip to Northern Ireland since inheriting the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
However, the royal couple previously visited Northern Ireland in February 2019 for a two-day royal tour.
Kate Middleton has been praised for keeping her cool during the meeting, with body language expert Judi James saying the princess “stood her ground”
In an interview with the Daily Mail’s Femail Magazine, Mrs James said Kate Middleton will be a “courageous” queen as she was able to handle the meeting calmly and “stood her ground”.
She said the meeting would have been “even more uncomfortable for Kate” than simply listening to the protester’s words as the woman shakes Kate’s hand as she makes the comments.
Ms James added: “Once she has Kate’s hand she catches it in her own and performs several quite aggressive shakes as she holds onto it and even pulls Kate towards her as she does so.
“We can see that Kate’s hand is being held for a shake that lasts longer than usual. Her fingers are pulled up the woman’s sleeve and her knuckles appear to be gripped tightly enough to turn white.”
Ms James claimed the protest was intended to make Kate feel “helpless”, but instead it had a very different effect as the princess “doesn’t miss a beat”.
The body expert continued: “Instead of quickly looking away and continuing to dismissively ignore the woman, she handles the moment well by making an ‘oh’ to suggest ‘what a shame’
“So, when her hand is released, but the woman is still filming and crocheting, she keeps her place and even looks around for other hands to shake.
“The reaction of smiling but moving on quickly would be understandable and a typical royal move, but standing your ground to show you’re not intimidated looks pretty brave.”
The expert also reviewed Kate’s verbal responses, claiming the Princess of Wales “heard bloody well” but kept her composure.
Ms James said: “Will Kate prove to be a brave queen? She doesn’t even seem to look around for her safety either to warn them or to make herself feel more secure by checking that they were paying attention.”
“She responded with charm, but her lack of any other response could indicate a certain lack of fear of being challenged.”
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Kate Middleton and Prince William visited Carrickfergus, a town north of Belfast, while on their trip to Northern Ireland and shook hands with local schoolchildren as well as other residents.
The royal couple have a personal connection with the area, as Queen Elizabeth bestowed the titles of Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus on Prince William and Kate on their wedding day in 2011.
The Prince and Princess of Wales expressed their gratitude on social media after the trip, writing on Twitter: “Thanks for having us, Northern Ireland!”
The couple also posted a video highlighting the trip, which included footage of Kate making a cocktail and Prince William playing with dogs.
Royal fans praised Kate Middleton for how she handled the protester on social media, with one commenter writing: “That very disrespectful lady should have stayed at home instead of wasting her time waiting for someone she doesn’t like… Catherine handled the moment perfectly though.”