Given their romance is under an intense global spotlight, Prince William and Kate Middleton keenly understand the power of public appearances. But even if they’re more than used to appearing as a happy couple in front of the cameras, at the 2023 BAFTA Awards in London on Sunday, the couple looked even more attentive to each other than ever.

The Prince and Princess of Wales made sure to hold hands while walking down the red carpet—the latter, notably, wearing a pair of statement black opera gloves while doing so—as the cameras flashed furiously around them. Then, at one point, the Princess even playfully tapped William’s lower back. The public display of affection had the internet abuzz, with many users noting it was refreshing to see the couple displaying more visible affection towards each other. 

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Indeed, while it’s not unheard of to see the couple to be lovey-dovey in public—at the 2012 Olympics, for example, they embraced each other while cheering in the stands—it’s certainly unusual: more often than not, the two instead display a congenial yet professional demeanor while making public appearances. They’ll walk in lockstep and lean into each other, sure, but rarely more than that. Even on high-profile occasions where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have held hands—such as a walkabout outside of Windsor Castle after the death of Queen Elizabeth—the Prince and Princess of Wales have tended to avoid overt physical affection. 

It was assumed that the two were following the lead set by Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, who seldom expressed their affection to each other while undertaking their royal roles. Yet, today, they showed that the Waleses would be setting their own, more demonstrative, example.

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