Tom Cruise Allegedly Made A Royal Gaffe With Kate Middleton At The Top Gun: Maverick Premiere, But Was It A Big Deal?

top gun mav premiere
(Image credit: Photo by Neil Mockford/FilmMagic)

As a leading man in Hollywood for the last several decades, Tom Cruise is pretty much used to being in the driver’s – or should we say pilot’s – seat. He famously does his own film stunts, which include the stunts for his reprisal role in the recently released Top Gun: Maverick. Recently, there’s been talk that the actor may have slightly overstepped the mark when it came to royal family member Kate Middleton at the sequel’s London premiere. However, was it as big a deal as some were making it out to be?

Simply put, the Top Gun: Maverick premiere on May 19 was a long-awaited ordeal. Not only has it obviously been many, many years since the original 1986 film came out, but there were many delays for the new iteration’s release due to COVID. Finally, though, it emerged to see the light of day, and it was a truly royal affair. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the screening and were, basically, dripping elegance. Nevertheless, their glam attire wasn’t what caught spectator’s attention online – it was Tom Cruise helping Kate Middleton up some stairs, as you can see below.

top gun mav premiere

(Image credit: Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Now, under normal circumstances, helping a lady up the stairs in America might be seen as a very gentlemanly gesture. Unfortunately, since this is the British royal family we’re talking about, Tom Cruise’s gesture was questioned by a few online as a potential faux pas. In other words, you can’t possibly just touch a royal hand, even if you are the star of the movie night event.

All in all, the rules of etiquette on this point aren’t totally clear. Queen Elizabeth supposedly has to offer her hand herself in order for anyone to touch her. But that’s the Queen. While plenty of people noted the alleged gaffe online, according to Yahoo UK’s royal executive editor, Omar Scobie, it’s a little different for other royal family members. He said,

There are no official rules when it comes to touching a member of the Royal Family. It's more down to what's acceptable in society or not.

He continued that a lot of the ideas concerning royal protocol are actually just misconceptions created by the public. Apparently, it would’ve been a “far worse” blunder for the wife of the second in line to the British throne to fall down the same stairs. So really, Maverick preemptively saves the day once again, am I right?

Regardless, the moment itself was relatively harmless. Tom Cruise only touched Kate Middleton’s hand for a few brief seconds. Immediately after which, the two were seen going up even more stairs and the Duchess had already discreetly moved her clutch to the other hand. No harm, no foul.

top gun mav premiere

(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Still, the supposed Kate Middleton mishap wasn’t the only eyebrow-raising moment during the Top Gun: Maverick premiere in merry-old-London. Following rumors they had been dating while making the film, Tom Cruise’s co-star Hayley Atwell showed up with someone else on her arm: her mom. And much like the royal etiquette incident, Atwell’s situation came to light and passed through the interwebs quickly, as well. 

In true Pete Mitchell-style, Tom Cruise hasn’t let the chatter phase him in the slightest. Just the night before all this, Top Gun: Maverick had a showing at the Cannes Film Festival, which saw the 59-year-old in fact showered with a standing ovation for his turn in the film, where his character now acts as a trainer of the next generation of Top Gun graduates. Cruise also got awarded an honorary Palme d’Or that same night for his impressive oeuvre.

The sequel is over three decades in the making, so there’s naturally a lot of hype surrounding it. And Tom Cruise has throwback pics for days to celebrate its release on the 2022 movie schedule. Audiences can check out how it stacks up to its predecessor in theaters now. (Psst, CinemaBlend thinks it was 4-star-level great…)

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.