Kate Middleton’s Reaction To Tom Cruise’s Breach Of Royal Protocol Didn’t Go Unnoticed

Tom Cruise is regarded by many as the king of Hollywood. Yet when it comes to genuine royalty, he’s seemingly happy to be a loyal subject. Still, even an A-lister like Cruise, who’s used to brushing shoulders with the rich and powerful, can get it wrong from time to time. For example, he made headlines in 2022 by supposedly breaking royal protocol with Kate Middleton, now Princess of Wales, with one very simple gesture.

A major public event

The then-Duchess of Cambridge attended the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick at Leicester Square in London, together with husband Prince William. The belated movie sequel, viewed with skepticism by some, became a monster hit at the box office. It has made well over $1 billion against a budget of $170 million. Talk about an impressive take-off!

An invite from a megastar

It arguably didn’t need the royal seal of approval, but the royal couple’s decision to view the high-octane follow-up lent proceedings at the premiere an extra touch of class. After hearing about William’s love for the original Top Gun, its star invited them to the IMAX screening. Sophie Wessex, plus princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, also watched Cruise and company in action. 

So what did Cruise do?

Cruise felt comfortable enough to ask the royal couple along for the ride, but some commentators deemed him to be a little too comfortable. So when he decided to take Kate’s hand as she walked up the steps to Cineworld Leicester Square in her elegant dress, it surprised certain onlookers, journalists, and personalities who make their living commenting on royal goings-on. 

World-famous figures

The naturally exuberant star has drawn attention in the past, whether sofa jumping in a TV interview or performing his own death-defying stunts for the long-running Mission: Impossible film franchise. All of this brings us to a critical question: who was at the center of the spotlight here, Kate or Cruise? What happens when one of Hollywood’s defining stars interacts with a noble bloodline?

Does William hold hands with Kate?

Hello! magazine’s royal editor Emily Nash has referred to hand-holding as “unprofessional.” Though we should point out that here she wasn’t talking about Cruise… rather, Prince William! The fact the Prince and Princess of Wales aren’t in the habit of expressing much in the way of public affection shows the rigid nature of royal-family protocol. Not for nothing perhaps is the clan called “The Firm”. 

Valid reasons

In fairness, there are long-established reasons behind this detail. Nash explained that the couple needs to do a lot of hand-shaking, so their appendages must be generally available at all times. It’s a responsibility they take very seriously, so when Cruise decided to escort Kate up the steps, did it create a commotion? Well, yes and no.

Kate’s reaction

The royals have a habit of staying tight-lipped over anything gossip related. Yet something Kate did indicates that, while holding hands with Cruise wasn’t necessarily an unpleasant experience, it wasn’t something she wanted to continue. Hello! noted, “After Tom released her, she moved her bag into the hand that he had been holding, so he couldn't take it again as they ascended some more stairs.”

In the bag

Whether Cruise picked up on this hint isn’t clear. Either way, he behaved respectfully and has nothing much to worry about. It’s interesting to note that the princess used her bag in this way. Her late stepmother also employed a handbag when meeting members of the public and notables. If she switched it to another arm, apparently you were sort of in trouble.

Armed combat

By doing this, she was reportedly signaling to staff that she wished to move on from whatever interaction she was having. Was this trick duplicated by Kate to avoid further contact with Cruise? In terms of hand-holding, most certainly it appears. What did William make of the situation? Again, it’s hard to tell. Maybe he was too excited about the movie.

William’s a movie fan

As previously mentioned, the main reason Cruise had invited William and Kate to see Top Gun: Maverick was because he’d known the prince had been a fan of the 1986 original. Cruise told website MyLondon about his association with William, stating, “We both love England and we’re both aviators, we both love flying”. Of course, the royal had previously trained with the RAF and served in the Royal Navy.

Going the extra mile

As for Cruise, he famously takes things to the max in his work. When you see his characters free-climbing mountains and clinging to helicopters, it’s typically the man himself. For Top Gun: Maverick, he put his fellow actors through their paces in the cockpits of actual planes. The film was directed by Joseph Kosinski, who’d previously worked with Cruise on 2013 movie Oblivion

Cruise behaved like a gentleman

Still, meeting Kate and William at the Top Gun: Maverick screening, Cruise didn’t just go in for a handshake. Instead, he held the princess’s hand as she walked up the steps. This isn’t exactly the end of the world, though it ruffled a few feathers. So to what extent did Cruise offend, and how did Kate react?

Merry Christmas from Cruise

Well, it might be worth knowing that when you sign up for a Cruise project, the expectation seems to be that you’re all-in. This is probably true of the royal family, also. What makes us say that? Reports emerged in Christmas 2022 that the leading man had treated Kate and William to more than a movie premiere. He’d also sent them a rather lovely cake!   

A tough nut to crack

Doan’s Bakery, based in Woodland Hills, California, reportedly bakes a coconut cake which is then sent to friends as a festive — and, we guess, fattening — gift from Mr. Cruise. With a value of $110, it must taste extra good. Website Yahoo suggested that receiving the present could become an annual treat deal for the couple, although it isn’t known whether they’ve enjoyed a slice. 

What was Kate’s reaction?

It’s no shock to hear that the press reacted in a major way to the incident, but what did Kate herself think? Well, some might say that her opinion was entirely clear from her reaction. However, it’s not the only time that A-listers have applied an arguably excessive helping of Tinseltown swagger when attending reserved royal occasions.

Just how sunny was it at Windsor?

When it comes to fame, it's hard to beat out the President of the United States. So when the incumbent at the White House, Joe Biden, introduced himself to Queen Elizabeth II, his choice of eyewear threw shade on the momentous meeting. Serious shade, in fact, due to him keeping his sunglasses on while he said hello to the late monarch. 

Eyes on Biden

This was frowned upon by some. As noted by website Insider, addressing the Queen with your eyes obscured doesn’t make the best impression. President Biden remained protected from the Sun “throughout the beginning of the visit” to Windsor Castle, removing them “halfway through the playing of the national anthem during a ceremony at the castle’s quadrangle.” Was this a breach of protocol?

Why didn’t he take them off earlier?

This wasn’t too big a slip-up, despite the Queen potentially having been surprised at his shady persona, so to speak. It wouldn’t get him sent to the Tower; put it that way. Perhaps the President had just been overawed by the spectacle and forgotten to take his sunglasses off? But, on the other hand, his predecessor operated in his own distinctive fashion.

When Donald Trump met Elizabeth

Former President Donald Trump famously walked ahead of the late Queen during his visit, with Her Majesty appearing in the background. He also grabbed headlines by appearing to pat Elizabeth on the shoulder. Did instinct take over from protocol, about which the POTUS must have been briefed? It’s tough to track all the assorted rules and regulations.

The Obamas stop by

Sometimes visitors to the British royals have acted on impulse, doing far more than allegedly patting the late sovereign as though she had been one of her beloved corgis. For example, when President Barack Obama was in office, he met Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Also visiting was First Lady Michelle, who raised eyebrows with a friendly move — she put her arm around the monarch! 

How did Elizabeth react?

This doesn't appear to have bothered the ruler, who returned the compliment. Michelle described it as "the human thing" to do in Becoming, her 2018 memoir. While publicizing the book in London, the author commented on the nature of official protocol for world leaders and the like. She wondered, "Who are you doing this for? Because they don't want it, we don't want it."

Meghan’s view

Another individual who had strong feelings about the protocol was Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, one of the most talked-about individuals on the planet and, until recently, a working royal. In 2021 she revealed during her Oprah Winfrey interview that she hadn’t received guidance on how to behave in front of her new family. Other commentators have disputed this claim.

Like a classic Anne Hathaway movie

She compared the experience to that of Anne Hathaway’s character in the 2001 movie The Princess Diaries, who also has to adjust to life in a palace. “There were certain things that you couldn’t do,” she said. “But, you know, unlike what you see in the movies, there’s no class on how to speak, how to cross your legs, how to be royal.” 

From Netflix fever to Night Fever

In 2022 Meghan Markle expanded these views in the hit Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan, where she performed an exaggerated and comical curtsy when describing how she fared in terms of royal etiquette. Meghan came to Windsor from the showbiz world, though other encounters the royals have had with celebrities had gone more smoothly — such as when Princess Diana met John Travolta. 

A royal request

In 1985, the star of Grease and Saturday Night Fever attended a White House event where Diana was in the spotlight. Talking to PBS for the 2021 documentary In Their Own Words: Diana, Princess of Wales Travolta revealed he hadn’t been planning on attracting attention. That was until then-First Lady Nancy Reagan approached and urged him to dance with the royal.

First Lady paired them up

Explaining that Diana’d had a “fantasy” about hitting the dance floor with him, Ronnie’s better half lined Travolta up for tripping the light fantastic. However, the night was well underway, and he reportedly had to wait a couple of hours or so till midnight before asking Diana to join him. The resulting photos became a sensation, with the actor describing it as a “storybook moment.

LeBron James didn’t get it right

Someone who didn’t perform so delicately was basketball star LeBron James. When in 2014 he posed for a picture with Kate, he arguably treated it like any other photo opportunity. Posing with her and William, James put his arm around her shoulders. Not disrespectfully — it was clearly just what he felt he should do.

Did James create tension?

This didn’t appear to faze the then-Duchess of Cambridge, though it did draw criticism from some commentators, who believed the ace sportsman had crossed a line. A simple handshake and exchange of pleasantries this was not. We should reiterate that there’s no law against touching a member of the British royal family. Handshaking, for instance, is encouraged.

Touchy-feely vs. stiff upper lip

Such a gesture is perhaps typical of an American approach, which in this case is being made to a very British recipient. As quoted by the Daily Mail, according to etiquette expert and commentator William Hanson Americans generally are “much more tactile than we Brits”. In reference to James, he believes the basketball star had been “too touchy-feely” when putting his arm around the duchess.

Not everyone thinks Cruise broke protocol

“You’d have thought they’d have learned by now,” he added. Yet other commentators, including Omid Scobie, believed the whole thing to be a storm in a teacup. Writing for Yahoo Life, he branded any objections to Cruise’s conduct as “nonsense,” maintaining that the protocol that people were referring to didn’t exist in the first place. If the prince or princess are given a role in Top Gun 3, then we’ll know all is well! It’s not the only run-in that Tom Cruise has had with royalty, though...

Princess Diana's hilarious comment about Tom Cruise

It’s well known that Princess Diana had a cheekier sense of humor than most members of the royal family. But behind closed doors, it was those who knew her best who got front-row seats to this famous wit. Her personal chef, Darren McGrady, witnessed first-hand a side to the late princess that few people got to see. And he’s shared a particularly amusing example of Diana’s playful nature that involves a certain famous actor. Whether Tom Cruise would be able to see the funny side, though, is another matter. 

Innermost thoughts

McGrady first began working for Diana in 1993 at Kensington Palace. This wasn’t his first position with the most famous family in the world, of course. The chef had previously enjoyed an 11-year stint at another royal residency, Buckingham Palace. Speaking to website Insider, McGrady revealed that he and Diana would often spend hours discussing their innermost thoughts.

Soap operas

And that included everything from the rest of her family to her favorite soap operas. McGrady said, “She would come through and talk about what the royals were saying. She’d come and talk about what was going on in her life with the Prince of Wales and the boys. She’d talk about what was on TV.” 

Private lives

You might expect that their conversations would have been dominated by the stories that made Diana a tabloid sensation. But apparently the royal was just as interested in McGrady’s private life as the chef was hers. He recalled, “She would say, ‘So what’s happening at home? Have you got a girl? Are there any girlfriends on the scene?’”

Making the tea

And despite her lofty position within the royal family Diana wasn’t averse to switching roles, either. McGrady recalled, “If the Queen came into the kitchen, you stood to attention out of respect. But when Princess Diana came in the kitchen she’d say, ‘I need a coffee. I’ll make it. I’ll make you one.’”

Your Royal Highness

But McGrady never forgot that he was still working for one of the most esteemed figures in British society. Even though her marriage troubles had put paid to any chances of becoming the monarch, she was always going to be the mother of a future King: Prince William. The chef always referred to Diana as “Your Royal Highness” even during less-formal discussions. 

The Crown

McGrady’s close relationship with Diana means he is better equipped than many to assess the accuracy of her on-screen depictions. The chef has offered his thoughts about Spencer, the biopic in which he was played by Sean Harris. And McGrady has also argued that Netflix hit The Crown was wide of the mark in implying that there had never been any real love between his former boss and her husband, now King Charles III.

Growing in confidence

But in another interview with Insider McGrady did acknowledge that Diana’s confidence had grown significantly after she separated from her husband. Referring to the period up until 1992 the chef remarked, “She’d always got that wicked sense of humor. She’s always loved risky jokes, but she was a little quieter, a little more reserved.” 

Vanity Fair

An example of the more confident Diana came one eventful evening in 1994. On the night that the royal was due to attend a bash held by Vanity Fair magazine, Charles had confessed to documentarian Jonathan Dimbleby that he’d had been unfaithful with Camilla Parker Bowles. While the old Diana might have turned the invitation down, the new Diana decided to go ahead all guns blazing.  

Revenge dress

Yes, Diana ensured that all eyes were on her that night by wearing a dazzling black outfit designed by Christina Stambolian for the party. It was a style choice that would be dubbed by the press as the “revenge dress.” McGrady acknowledged, “After the separation there was a very strong-willed princess there.”

Looking her best

McGrady also believed that Diana began to flourish in several different areas of her life following her publicized split. The chef said, “She was the patron of 119 different charities, working out at the gym three days a week, looking the best she ever did.” Diana may have become a new woman, but as he explained in a video posted on his YouTube channel, her sense of humor was still very much intact.  

Andrew Lloyd Webber

And as McGrady recalled there was one particular celebrity that was on the receiving end of Diana’s ability to throw shade. Luckily for Andrew Lloyd Webber, it wasn’t him. The personal chef discussed how the royal had been a big fan of his musicals, adding, “She’d often just sit up on the counter or on the chest freezer, and she loved talking about Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables — we both loved going to the theatre.” 

Pretty cool

McGrady continued, “She always used to trump me. I would say, ‘Oh, I went to see Phantom of the Opera and got amazing seats.’ She would say, ‘Oh, I went to see it too and I was just a few rows back,’ and then went to actually have dinner with Andrew Lloyd Webber. I was like, ‘Okay, that’s pretty cool.’” 


While Lloyd Webber appeared to escape Diana’s sharp tongue, another master of his art wasn’t so lucky. Yes, Cruise may have been the biggest blockbuster star of the mid-1990s. But that didn’t count for much when he stood within feet of one of the few faces more famous than his own. 

Mission Impossible

McGrady told his followers about how Cruise’s A-list meeting with Diana came about. He said, “She came into the kitchen one morning and said, ‘Darren, we’ve had an invite to go and watch the making of Mission Impossible at Pinewood Studios in London. For me to take William and Harry.’”

Thick as thieves

William and Harry might now be famously warring, married men. But back at the time of Mission Impossible’s shoot in the mid-1990s they were thick-as-thieves young boys. And they were no doubt more than happy to join their mother for a behind-the-scenes look at what was undeniably the most exciting action-adventure flick of the year.

Leading man

McGrady recalled Diana asking whether she should take her two sons to the set at the London-based studios. He said, “Of course they were young then and they’d probably…[have loved] the pyrotechnics and everything.” The chef also reminded the royal there was another reason to go: meeting the leading man.  

Crack the funnies

Diana’s reply of “Darren, I’ll crack the funnies,” suggested that the royal didn’t see the prospect of going out with Cruise particularly appealing. That was made more apparent when she returned home to give her review of the experience. And the royal didn’t just offer her thoughts about the shooting of the film, either.  

Too short

McGrady told his YouTube followers, “She came into the kitchen later that day, and she’d been and the boys absolutely loved it — all those explosions and things. She came in, picked up some fruit, walked out and didn’t say anything. But as she was walking out, she said, ‘That’s another one off the list. He’s too short.”  

Three inches

Yes, just as McGrady imagined, Diana had got to see Mission Impossible’s daredevil hero in person. But while her youngest son Harry would later marry a star of the screen, the princess obviously wasn’t interested in doing the same. And if you’re wondering what the height difference between the pair was then it was 3 inches in Diana’s favor. 

Earlier meeting

We can only assume that Diana was pretending that the Mission Impossible set was the first time she’d met Cruise for comic purposes. Either that or she suffered from memory loss. You see, the royal had already come face-to-face with the Hollywood star and his then-wife Nicole Kidman several years previously. 

Far and Away

That’s right: Diana and Cruise were first introduced to each other at the premiere of Irish period drama Far and Away in 1992: there’s even photo evidence of them shaking hands. Although judging by her facial expression in the picture, the royal wasn’t that impressed with her A-list encounter on this occasion, either.  

A bit smitten

The plot thickens, though, when you take into consideration the claims made by Judy Wade in her book Diana: The Intimate Portrait. Far from being turned off by Cruise, the author alleges that the royal was actually a little bit smitten with him. Wade also argued that the Scientologist’s other half at the time was fully aware of this.  

Posing a threat

And Wade believes this impacted Kidman’s career choices and one of her celebrity friendships, too. The biographer wrote, “Well, that explains why Nicole turned down roles with Diana every time and wasn’t happy that her best friend Naomi Watts accepted. Nicole continues to hold a grudge, even though she divorced Tom, and the woman who posed a threat died.” 

Royal funeral

Who knows whether there’s any truth to these rumors? After all, Kidman did still attend the funeral of Diana in 1997 after the royal lost her life in a Paris car crash. But according to sources, it was her husband who had insisted that they should turn up. Cruise was also reportedly left devastated by the tragedy, too.

Chasing and harassing

Cruise was also pretty vocal about the profession he believed was responsible for Diana’s untimely death: the paparazzi. The Hollywood favorite is quoted by Vogue magazine as saying, “They run lights, and they chase you and harass you. It happens all over the world. And it has certainly gotten worse.”

Job offer

This wasn’t the end of Diana and Cruise’s connection, though. According to British newspaper the Daily Mirror, the latter offered the royal’s butler a job in the wake of the tragedy. Paul Burrell had actually been instrumental in organizing Diana’s trip to Pinewood Studios with William and Harry where she’d met the star.  

Top Gun

In 2022 the Academy Award nominee asked the late princess’ eldest son William and wife Kate to attend an exclusive screening of another action-packed blockbuster. Long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick would go on to become one of the biggest films of the year. And it was its British premiere which inspired McGrady to reveal all about Diana’s height quip.

Lot in common

And William and Cruise appeared to get on like a house on fire at the event. The pair were pictured grinning from ear to ear while waving to the crowds in their smart tuxedos. The actor later told website My London, “We have a lot in common. We both love England and we’re both aviators, we both love flying.”

Royal approval

And unlike his mother, William seemed to have nothing but good things to say about Cruise and the Top Gun sequel in particular. The Sun newspaper reported, “Apparently, it was met with royal approval. Not least because William has been a military pilot himself, so it’s pretty close to his heart.”