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Hollywood star Tom Cruise last night proved himself the perfect gentleman when he offered his hand to Kate Middleton to assist her up a small set of steps at the Top Gun: Maverick premiere.
While his gesture was no doubt chivalrous, getting tactile with members of the royal family is always a thorny issue.
According to the Royal Family’s website there are ‘no obligatory codes of behaviour’ when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but there’s an unwritten rule that you shouldn’t go beyond a handshake.
However, US stars can’t resist going beyond the more reserved greeting when in the presence of royalty, as demonstrated by Tom at last night’s event.
He follows in the footsteps of fellow Americans who have raised eyebrows by being touchy feely, including Michelle Obama who famously put an arm around the Queen and LeBron James who did the same with Kate Middleton.
Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise (pictured, right) raised eyebrows at last night’s Top Gun: Maverick premiere in London, when he took the hand of Kate Middleton (pictured, left)
Another tactile moment between an American and a royal came in 2014, when Prince William and Kate Middleton (pictured, centre) met US basketball player LeBron James (pictured, right) in New York, who put his arm around the Duchess’ shoulder
One of the most infamous examples of Americans being touch feely with the British royals came in 2009, when then First Lady Michelle Obama (pictured, left) put her arm around the Queen (pictured, right)
Among the most famous tactile moments took place during a meeting between the Queen and then First Lady Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace.
The Obamas visited her Majesty in April 2009, when she placed an arm around the monarch, who reciprocated, and put an arm around the First Lady.
Although the incident raised eyebrows at the time, reflecting on the interaction 10 years later, during a 2019 London promotional event for her memoir, Michelle Obama said it was a ‘natural human reaction’.
‘What is true among world leaders is that there are people who handle protocol, and usually the people they’re representing don’t want all that protocol.
President Trump broke protocol by appearing to pat the Queen on the shoulder as she stood up to toast him
‘So you wonder, well, who are you doing this for? Because they don’t want it, we don’t want it.
‘But it’s just the way things are. So I don’t know that I could have done anything differently because it was a natural human reaction.’
Her husband’s successor in the White House, Donald Trump, later raised eyebrows by appearing to pat the Queen on the shoulder as she stood to toast him during a state banquet in June 2019.
As the monarch stood up with her glass of Windsor Great Park sparkling English wine, the President reached out his left hand and put it behind her right shoulder, as if to pat it.
While the term protocol is bandied around a great deal, it is considered extremely poor form to touch Her Majest in such a formal setting. The Queen did not react and continued to play the gracious hostess.
Actor Tom Cruise showed how American celebrities can be more comfortable when it comes to being touchy feely with the British royals, taking Kate Middleton’s hand at last night’s Top Gun: Maverick premiere
When the Queen met Michelle Obama in 2009, and then First Lady put her arm around her, the monarch reciprocated
She added that the Monarch branded royal protocol ‘rubbish’ during a later visit to Windsor Castle.
Another notable moment occurred in 2014, when Kate Middleton and Prince William met Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player LeBron James in New York, after a game with the Brooklyn Nets.
When the trio posed for a photo, the athlete put his arm around the Duchess, in an eyebrow raising moment that garnered lots of attention.
Speaking to MailOnline about the tactile moment, etiquette expert William Hanson said: ‘Although I am sure the Duchess of Cambridge won’t have worried about it, Mr James should not have put his arm around her.
‘Americans are much more tactile than we Brits and this is another example of an American being too touchy feely with British royalty. You’d have thought they’d have learned by now.’
However, the Cambridges seems unbothered about the moment, and were seen laughing and joking with LeBron throughout their interaction.