Prince William breaks royal protocol in heartwarming gesture for crying pensioner to 'cement' his royal future

Prince William, Prince William breaks royal protocol
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William has broken royal protocol by hugging a crying pensioner during his official visit to Scotland with wife Kate Middleton.

The Duke of Cambridge took the rare royal step of greeting the pensioner, named locally as William Burns, with his arms wide open as the pair embraced at meeting for the first time as he and Duchess Kate greeted crowds outside a homelessness project in Glasgow for their one-day visit to Scotland.

The emotional well-wisher gripped Prince William tightly and appeared to cry in his arms as Prince William breaks royal protocol.

It's not the first time Prince William has broken royal protocol during his official engagements - a move that was started by his late mother Princess Diana. And just last month both William and Kate broke an unwritten rule for a special reason when they had a selfie taken with the bobsleigh team in Jamaica.

In their  latest visit to the Wheatley Group site in Kennishead, Kate and William were invited to "see first-hand how they are transforming the lives of disadvantaged or vulnerable people, including those at risk of homelessness", Kensington Palace said.

Speaking on behalf of Slingo, body language expert Darren Stanton tells why news that Prince William breaks royal protocol was "authentic".

“During his appearance in Glasgow, Prince William was seen hugging an emotional elderly man as he interacted with crowds. Such a moment marks an unprecedented demonstration of just how authentic, empathetic and open Kate and William are.

“As per Royal protocol, the Queen will never shake hands with anyone with bare hands. You’ll notice if she’s shaking hands with another person, she will always be wearing gloves and it’s one of the traditions she has adopted throughout her reign."

You can watch a clip of the visit below which includes Prince William's embrace...

Darren continued, “William embracing the elderly man is a rare outpouring of genuine emotion from a senior Royal and you can tell from the man’s face it was one of true elation, with the moment sure to stick with him for the rest of his days.

"This was a real authentic connection and not one faked for the sake of being in the public arena. You can see the sincerity in William’s face as he engulfed his arms around the man, with the Prince not fazed about being in such close proximity.

"Kate’s reaction, meanwhile, is one of pure joy and her face is totally engaged, flashing a huge smile, as she witnessed the sweet embrace."

Prince William is third in line to the throne in the royal line of succession, and in the past, even an hand on the back from a well meaning dignitary was enough to spark outrage.

Darren concluded, “The hug demonstrates that William and Kate do truly care about people and do not take their privileged position for granted. It marks the way forward for when William does eventually become King, with his compassion potentially allowing for him to become one of the most popular monarchs in history.

“We have never seen such an outpouring of love from the public too, when it comes to senior Royals, since Diana. It’s clear the public have very much taken William and Kate into their hearts and demonstrations such as this one will no doubt cement the nation’s affection for them.”

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)