Body Language Expert Explains How Heckler Tried to Make Kate Middleton ‘Feel Helpless’ but She Refused to Be ‘Intimidated’

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and mourning period in the U.K., senior members of the royal family got back to work attending engagements and making visits to several different countries. Prince William and the Princess of Wales (formerly Kate Middleton) made a stop in Northern Ireland and that’s where William’s wife encountered a heckler.

A leading body language expert is pointing out exactly what that heckler did to try and make the princess “feel helpless” and how she responded to prove she will not be intimidated.

Kate Middleton, who dealt with a heckler who a body language expert said tried to make her "feel helpless," greeting the public during her visit to Carrickfergus Castle in Northern Ireland
Kate Middleton greets the public during her visit to Carrickfergus Castle in Northern Ireland | Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

What the heckler said to the Princess of Wales

On Oct. 6, Baron and Lady Carrickfergus, as they’re known in Northern Ireland, visited charities in Belfast before greeting crowds during a walkabout near Carrickfergus Castle.

One moment recorded as Kate greeted those gathered to catch a glimpse of her and her husband showed a woman shaking hands with the princess and saying: “Nice to meet you but it would be better if it was when you were in your own country.”

That woman, who was filming her encounter with Kate, then told her: “Ireland belongs to the Irish.”

How the heckler tried to make Kate ‘feel helpless’

Body language expert Judi James watched the walkabout and analyzed the moment the princess came face to face with the heckler.

According to James, “This heckling ritual would have felt even more uncomfortable for Kate than just listening to the woman’s words. Kate is greeting a friendly crowd and the woman holds her hand out for a shake. Once she has Kate’s hand she traps it in her own, performing several quite aggressive-looking shakes while holding it tight and even pulling Kate in towards her as she does so.”

The expert continued: “We can see Kate’s hand is held for a shake that goes on longer than usual. Her fingers have been pulled up the woman’s sleeve and her knuckles looked gripped tight enough to whiten. It is always a worry for royals and any celebrity when any crowd member keeps hold of their hand for longer than normal.”

James opined that the heckler’s actions were intended to make the royal “feel helpless.”


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The princess was praised for how she handled the encounter

If that was the heckler’s true intention, James said she failed in that.

“Kate uses eye contact but her smile doesn’t miss a beat,” James noted. “Instead of looking away quickly and moving on to ignore the woman dismissively, she handles the moment well by making an ‘oh’ to suggest ‘what a pity.’”

The expert concluded: “Then when her hand is released but the woman is still filming and heckling, keeping to her spot and even looking around for other hands to shake. The response of smiling but moving on quickly would be understandable and a typical royal move but standing your ground to show you’re not intimidated does look rather brave … She doesn’t even seem to glance around for her security to either alert them or to make herself feel safer by checking they were aware.”

Many users on social media also praised the Princess of Wales for how she handled herself in that situation.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet acknowledges conditions and cultures can impact body language and is sensitive to all backgrounds.