What Prince Charles Said When a Spice Girl Patted His Rear

Prince Charles and the Spice Girls are two of the greatest British icons of the 20th century. As the royal family is known for meeting with popular celebrities, it’s no wonder why he met the Spice Girls. The meeting between the Prince and the girl group was a touch more risque than most people would have expected. Here’s the story behind the time a Spice Girl patted Prince Charles on the rear.

Prince Charles with the Spice Girls | © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Prince Charles and Geri Halliwell got surprisingly close

According to Time, the Spice Girls first met Prince Charles at a gala for the Prince’s Trust Charity in May 1997. The meeting was rather brief but scandalous. Mel B and Geri Halliwell kissed the prince on the cheek, breaking royal protocol.

Halliwell took things a step farther. First she told Prince Charles she found him “very sexy.” Then she touched the prince’s rear. It was widely reported she pinched the prince. Halliwell disputed those reports, saying “I didn’t pinch Prince Charles’s bum, as was reported. I patted it,” she explained. “Patting him on the bottom was against royal protocol but we’re all human. It was the premiere of our film, Spice World, in the late Nineties. There was a lot of nervous energy – young women, happy antics.”

The Spice Girls meet Prince Charles | © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

According to Time, it’s impossible to tell whether she pinched or patted him from the video footage of the meeting. Either way, the interaction between the prince and Halliwell was certainly unexpected. It proved to be a press sensation.

The Spice Girls and Prince Charles meet Nelson Mandela

The prince didn’t harbor negative feelings regarding his interaction with Halliwell. In November 1997, he met them again following a charity concert in South Africa. There, the prince posed for a photo opportunity with the Spice Girls and South Africa’s then-president, Nelson Mandela.

President Nelson Mandela, Prince Charles, and the Spice Girls | Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

President Mandela was pleased to meet the girl group. He smiled as he said “These are my heroes. I don’t want to be emotional, but this is one of the greatest moments of my life.” Prince Charles expressed a similar sentiment to the president’s, saying “It is the second greatest moment in my life. The greatest was the first time that I met them.”

Prince Charles sends Geri Halliwell a charming note

The BBC reported Prince Charles sent Halliwell a note on May 31, 1998 – the day after she left the Spice Girls. “The group will not be the same without you. What will I do without your wonderfully friendly greeting?” He also thanked the singer for her charity work, writing “I really wanted you to know how deeply I’ve appreciated your great generosity to my Prince’s Trust and how much I wish you well for whatever the future holds.” Holywell was reportedly “very touched” by the letter.

The prince certainly seemed to have fond memories of his first meeting with the Spice Girls. Their interaction became one of the most iconic moments of the group’s career and of 1990s British music. It also stands as the most well-known rear pat (or pinch) in world history.