- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

LeBron James breached royal protocol Monday as a still-sweaty “King” put his arm around Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, during a post-game photo shoot in New York. 

Prince William and Kate posed with the Cleveland Cavaliers forward at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center after his team beat the Brooklyn Nets.

The grip-and-grin came after Mr. James made waves on this side of the pond by wearing an “I can’t breathe” T-shirt to honor the memory of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by a white New York City police officer.

The NBA superstar, nicknamed “The King,” presented the real royal couple with a special Cavaliers’ jersey for the 16-month-old Prince George emblazoned with the name “George” and the number “1.” 

But one particular moment during the shoot raised eyebrows after Mr. James, dubbed King James in the U.S., put his arm around the Duchess’ shoulder — a breach in royal etiquette, The Daily Mail reported.

“Although I am sure the Duchess of Cambridge won’t have worried about it, Mr. James should not have put his arm around her,” etiquette expert William Hanson told the paper.

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“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 think they’d have learned by now,” he added, also criticizing Mr. James for wearing a sweaty shirt during the shoot, The Daily Mail reported.

A similar breach in protocol occurred in 2012, when First Lady Michelle Obama put her arm around the Queen at a Buckingham Palace G20 reception. The Queen reportedly returned the gesture by edging her hand toward the small of Mrs. Obama’s back, astonishing onlookers.

“It was a pretty simultaneous gesture. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” one guest remarked, The Daily Mail reported.

A royal source, however, denied that any protocol exists.

“When members of the royal family meet people they want them to feel as comfortable as possible,” he told the paper. “There’s no such thing as royal protocol.”

Still, the Buckingham Palace website offers instructions for greeting members of the royal family.

“There are no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms,” it reads. “For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.”

On Tuesday, Prince William and Kate visited the National September 11 Memorial Museum, before visiting the CityKids Foundation.

From there they will head to the Creativity is Great reception at NeueHouse. They are then expected to attend the University of St. Andrews 600th Anniversary Dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Daily Mail reported.


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