It was the twirl heard ’round the world: Kate Middleton set off a media firestorm this week for daring to adjust a curl, in public, at an otherwise somber Remembrance Day event. Some labeled her insensitive; others lamented her vanity. Still others wondered how this could possibly be a news item. Well, I’m here to defend Kate’s honor, and her hair, with the help of Debrett’s “A-Z of Modern Manners,” a British guide to proper decorum.

If you have not yet seen the shocking images, you may picture Kate chomping on a piece of gum, using one hand to twirl her hair while checking her phone with the other. In fact, however, over the course of about three seconds, Kate spots a rogue curl, twists it around her finger, and lets it rest on her shoulder. That’s it. Was she showing concern for her appearance at a rather untimely moment? Yes. Did she do anything wrong? Let’s consult the book.

Debrett’s states: “Hair should be kept clean and free from dandruff.” Check. Kate’s hair looks spotless. Not a flake in sight. “Do not brush it or play with it at the table or near food.” Check. Kate is not in the vicinity of anything edible. “Avoid constant fiddling and twirling and never put it in your mouth.” Ah—constant. Kate only would have broken proper social standard if she had “fiddled and twirled” her hair incessantly, which she did not. And she did not chew, lick, or suck on a single strand.

Finally, Debrett’s has this to say about the royal family: “Assume that to royalty, being left alone is far from a discourtesy; it is a luxury.” The defense rests.

MORE: Do You Have Hand-in-Hair Syndrome?

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