Is it sexist for Prince William to refer to Duchess Kate as ‘the missus’?


Prince William is being accused of sexism, and… I’m not really seeing it? Don’t get me wrong, I will accuse William of all sorts of things, and if you asked me if I thought William displayed a sexist attitude in general, I would probably agree. But in this particular instance, I think he just came across as dorky and like he was trying too hard to seem casual and “normal.” William sat down for an interview with BBC One. The interview will air on Saturday, but they’ve released some excerpted quotes, including one quote where William refers to Duchess Kate as “the missus.” That’s the scandal. The quotes:

When will William bring George to a football game? “I don’t know, I’ll have to pass that by the missus, see how I can get away with it! At the moment, being only 22 months, it’s a little bit early.”

He’s a big Aston Villa fan: “A long time ago, at school, I’d just got into football big time. I was looking round for clubs to support and all my friends at school were either Man U fans or Chelsea fans. I didn’t really want to follow the run of the mill teams, and I wanted to have a team that was more middle of the table, that could give me the more emotional rollercoaster moments – to be honest, now looking back, that was a bad idea. I could have had an easier time!!”

George & Charlotte can support who they like: “But if he supports Villa, it’d be fantastic…I’d love to go to the odd match with him in the future. It’ll probably end up being that Charlotte is the Villa fan, and George will go and support someone else!”

His work as President of the Football Association: “There’s a number of things that could do with being changed. I’d like to see racism stamped out for starters – in all competitions. I think, domestically we’re very good at it, and we’re a lot better to be than we used to be, and actually I think we’re now a leading light in it. There’s still much more to do, but I think we’re very good. I think the rest of Europe probably and the world have some catching up to do.”

[From Hello]

The Telegraph said William’s use of “the missus” was “casual sexism” and they actually make a pretty good point – that he’s playing into the idea that he’s one of the lads down at the pub, grateful for a few hours away from “the old ball and chain.” Which, let’s face it, really is how William thinks. He loves to get away from Kate and his children whenever possible so he can go off and do… whatever (Jecca Craig?). Now, all that being said, my first impression of his quotes were that William needs Kate’s “permission” about anything having to do with their kids. As in, she’s raising them and he’s a largely absent father.


Photos courtesy of WENN, BBC One.

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127 Responses to “Is it sexist for Prince William to refer to Duchess Kate as ‘the missus’?”

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  1. Maum says:

    I HATE that expression. I know it’s fairly common in the UK but I can’t stand it.

    William should know better. He is the future King of England, not Jamie Oliver. I bet his grandmother is not impressed.

    • LadyJane says:

      It’s a term of endearment in the UK and Ireland. No big deal.

      • klein says:

        Yeah, it really isn’t anything more than a lighthearted term.

      • wiffie says:

        And in most relationships, saying you have to run something by your spouse means you are in an equal respectful relationship where you agree and discuss things, and value their input. Not necessarily that you need permission.

        I don’t commit to things before consulting Mr wif bit not because he’s the boss. It’s because I value his opinion and we have to agree as a team.

      • Snoot says:

        My husband frequently refers to me as “the wife”. Doesn’t bother me at all.

      • Deedee says:

        The way he pairs “missus” with “see how I can get away with it” makes it sound less than egalitarian though. I’d like to see video before I make up my mind.

      • puffinlunde says:

        It’s a lot better than “She who must be obeyed” (Rumpole of the Bailey books)

      • FLORC says:

        It’s all in the tone and context used. Here? Nothing. You’re partners. Not 1 as the warden over the other. But that’s my opinion in my own life.

      • Ashling says:

        I don’t think it’s an issue. It’s really between the two of them.

      • Chibichchai says:

        I think it is similar to wifey. In context its endearing.

      • Erinn says:

        sidenote: puffin – I love those books.

        Overall – I really don’t see any issue with it. It’d be different if it was “Oh. I have to get permission from the ball and chain because she never lets me do anything” but this was harmless.

      • Anne tommy says:

        ‘Er indoors…

    • Mary says:

      I think it is funny people are fixated on what he is calling her when it appears he is passively aggressively throwing her under the bus again. W & K are being criticized for not letting the public see George and with this little comment William places the blame on Kate. Kate makes the decision as to when George gets to attend events. Maybe I am reading too much into it?

    • Megan says:

      This is such a nothing story. William’s friend Jecca is such a nothing story. The idea that William is an absentee father is such a nothing story. A lot of effort is being made to make something out of nothing here.

    • RandomChatter says:

      I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

    • Bellejar says:

      All I see is George.
      These two are so boring, the way he referred to his wife is no biggie. IMO

      More photos of the adorable Prince George please.

  2. Katey says:

    That’s really reaching. I’m in an equal, respectful marriage and am often referred to as The Missus. It’s tongue in cheek, and I’m not looking for ways in which to be offended. Women do the same “sexist” things when rolling their eyes about “ugh, men” and their typical behaviours. Let’s not get excited over nothing.

    • Jegede says:

      Outrage policing at its finest, IMO

      My boyfriend calls me that.

      Its almost always tongue in cheek and NOT at all offensive. Well for me anyway

    • klein says:

      People love to get butthurt these days though

    • Audrey says:

      Yeah I don’t think it’s bad at all.

      My husband had me in his phone and as my occupation, he put wife. I just laughed at it. Not a big deal(I had just quit one job and was looking for another at that point)

    • Katey says:

      I actually LIKE being my husband’s “Missus”, and I’m assuming that a social-climber like Kate Middleton, whose greatest achievement in life was marrying the future King, is pretty proud of herself, too.

      And running plans past your spouse isn’t some form of control or asking for permission, it’s being respectful and considering your partner’s opinion and wants, too. The exact opposite of sexism, IMO.

    • Hannah says:

      Exactly. It’s the same as saying “the hubby”.

    • Liberty says:

      Tongue in cheek. That phrase and “the wife” are usually just used with sort of a joking affection, at least from what I’ve seen.

      Like, when commenters here say “the Hubby” to refer to their spouse, I suppose, with no ill will meant.

      That said I do think his press office was trying to make his sweatery prissy self more “lads friendly” by altering the language. Maybe Mr. Middleton-izing him before he jets off to his next lush villa holiday in three two one.

    • Jib says:

      And maybe he meant Carole M??? :)

  3. sienna says:

    I don’t take this comment as sexist at all. It seems very tongue in cheek to me. My dh would jokingly say something similar, yet I know that isn’t how he feels at all.

  4. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I don’t especially care for expressions like “the missus,” “my bride” and all that, but I don’t see them as any more sexist than “my wife.” Perhaps the attitude behind having to ask permission for “the boys” to get out of the house is a little tired, but honestly, Kate probably DOES decide when it’s appropriate for George to participate in certain things, or at least William would discuss it with her before doing it. I don’t like to be dismissive of complaints about political correctness, but I think you have to be careful not to seize on every tiny thing that could possibly be taken as sexist or you trivialize the whole concept. And sexism is very rampant in our world, so maybe this is not the best “teaching moment” in relation to that.

    • Shambles says:

      Yep, a thousand times this. If we continue to label even the most minor choice of words as sexism, incidents that are truly sexist will start to lose their credibility.

  5. Talie says:

    I wouldn’t say he’s absent — he certainly shows more affection to George than his father ever showed to him.

    • kcarp says:

      Agreed everyone forgets that George is very rarely seen. The last time he was seen with his dad George was very comfortable and William was affectionate and at ease with him.

      I think he is right about taking him to a soccer game, I mean it is hard. He can’t pay attention at that age. My daughter is 3 1/2 and we are taking her outside concerts, movies, etc. because she is just now not as crazy.

      • FLORC says:

        George is at ease with everyone. No matter who’s holding him he’s almost equally affectionate or at ease. He’s a well behaved toddler for the majority of what we have seen.
        That suggests it has little to do with how much time he’s spent with someone. Well settled.

    • Jellybean says:

      That is a harsh comment about Charles not showing affection. My mum says she remembers watching film of the Queen arriving back from a trip when Charles was only 5 or 6. She had been away for a long time, at least a month, and Charles was all dressed up and standing with the officials waiting to greet her off the boat. The Queen spoke to all the officials and barely acknowledged Charles; my Mum thought it was heartbreaking to watch. William and Harry seems very close to their father and they seem to have an affectionate relationship, even if they are not demonstrative in public. Maybe he had to learn that from Diana, he certainly always praised her as a mother, but ultimately he did most to raise those boys and he seems to have done a good job.

    • LAK says:

      Talie: perhaps you haven’t seen all the videos floating around on youtube showing Charles being affectionate to the boys – from babyhood to adulthood.

      Jellybean: it was six months away, and that video is also on youtube.

    • notasugarhere says:

      HM and Philip established the idea that welcome home greetings were private. After Philip had been away for a long time, they met up privately not in front of the cameras. Having Charles at the airport was somebody’s PR move, but it wouldn’t have been something HM wanted to happen in public. We do not know what her greeting was to him was like in private, but in public she wasn’t going to show how much she’d missed him.

  6. Katie says:

    Let us all remove the chip from our shoulder and reattach our sense of humor.

  7. Beth says:

    No. And if it doesn’t bother her it’s not really anyone else’s business.

  8. Lilacflowers says:

    When responding to questions about bringing his son to a football game, he included his daughter’s future choices as a fan, which is not something a sexist person would do

  9. The Original Mia says:

    Non-issue for me. He can call her whatever he wants and as long as he starts working like the future king he is. More of interest to me is the fact that he declined the Queen’s invitation to the opening of Parliament. Especially as she wanted to use the opportunity to reassure the public the line of succession was secure. Bad move, Bill Midds. Bad move.

  10. Aussie girl says:

    I don’t really find it offensive. My pet hate and I’m not sure why is, ‘my other half’. I suppose I don’t like it because you are or should be your own whole person. I know it’s silly but I just don’t like it.

  11. RobN says:

    I’ve always kind of enjoyed being referred to as the missus. Unless you’re one of the folks who simply enjoys being offended, I think you’d have to reach pretty far to find it a problem.

    I’m sure some women don’t like it on a personal basis, but that’s not the same thing as finding it to be some sort of institutionalized sexism.

  12. Murphy says:

    I don’t think its sexist, but I’m an American–don’t know if its held in different regard across the pond.

    Frankly I’m just surprised (and impressed) they got William to say anything at all.

  13. Lucky Charm says:

    I don’t find it sexist or offensive at all, when anyone says it. There are more important things to get upset about. Such as how little work he does compared to his grandfather.

    What I want is to see pictures of Prince George and Princess Charlotte!

  14. Jaded says:

    I think it’s cute – much better than some PC expression like “significant other” or “partner”.

  15. Elly says:

    It´s just William trying to sound “normal” and funny. Seriously i think that´s what he thinks “commoners” talk like. He does the same when he is talking about his son…all these things about “difficult” George. William thinks that is what people want to hear from a “normal, modern royal”.

  16. jmj424 says:

    I don’t find it sexist. He probably should have said he would have to ask his mother in-law though.

  17. Tonktonks says:

    In the UK here it’s not sexist. It’s a term of endermeant. He was trying to sound like ‘us’ in my opinion. What a load of ado about nothing.

  18. Deedee says:

    I’m not sure he wasn’t referring to Carole.

  19. Freebunny says:

    That’s just funny.

  20. annaloo. says:

    Wondering… In jest, a guy said I was being sexist calling another person a dick. I mean, did he have a point?

    • Lucky Charm says:

      If the other person really was being one, then no. :-)

      I really don’t know where/when that term came into use, but I’m just going with it being a reference to Richard “Tricky Dicky” Nixon during Watergate, so anyone who behaves like that is just called a dick. But then, I’m really good at just making up my own reasons for why things are!

  21. M.A.F. says:

    Eh, there are far more worse terms to use when describing your wife.

    • Chrissy says:

      I agree. If he’s said “battle-axe,” then I’d start to worry.

      • mayamae says:

        My dad called my grandma, “Miss Axe”, until the day he died. It was good natured, and became a term of endearment.

  22. LAK says:

    I think this was his way of being ‘normal’ to appeal to football terraces. It’s his attempt at mockney which is as irritating as when guy Ritchie does (did) it.

    • Sixer says:

      I was just about to say MOCKNEY ALERT! MOCKNEY ALERT!

      It’s a crime against plebs, not women. Snigger.

      BTW: Mr Sixer refers to me as Great Gob Almighty. And he really would say, “That sounds good. It’s a provisional yes, but I’ll have to run it past Great Gob Almighty first.”

      • FLORC says:

        Haha! That is priceless Sixer!

        Is that not a term he’s used outside of this style of talk? Or rather a term he has used casually?

        I find that when I speak to different groups in different areas i’ll slip into terms more local.

      • LAK says:

        Gee Sixer, what a geezer your bloke is!!!! ;)

        Florc: not that I’ve followed his speeches or conversation styles closely, but i’ve never known him to use this term before, plus he does try to appeal to his audience and what can be more ‘normal’ than using mockney slang to an audience of football watchers?! Football is supposed to be sport of normal people.

        As Sixer says, it’s a crime against plebs rather than women.

        Ps: a bit of history, mockney is a type of slang where aristos pretend to be working class cockneys by using cockney english slang to downplay their aristo roots.

        Sort of like someone using ebonics to be down with the homies, you dig?

      • frisbeejada says:

        My ex used to say I was from the ‘Family Von Big Trapp’ – not disimilar

      • FLORC says:

        Ready with the reference! Thank You! I was about to ask a follow-up if cockney the same as mockney or have I been calling it the wrong term since i’ve watched My Fair Lady.
        And Ebonics… Such a headache!

    • bluhare says:

      And here I thought he slurred “princess” and it came out “misses”. ;)

  23. nikki says:

    How is it bad? She is…the misses….

  24. FLORC says:

    As I can see no one here is jumping on him for saying that. So, he can say things. Anyone can. This seems like click bait for build up on the interview.

    • FLORC says:

      Fatty Magoo
      I get your point. Thank you for clarifying.
      And it goes both ways in truth. William can be both praised and attacked on every point. It just varies the interpretation/point of view.

      Examples are everywhere. This site has a nice balance. Others are extreme opposites.
      He can and does do next to nothing, but receives praises and criticisms. Now if the praie is earned or the criticism is constructive is the difference.

  25. Alex says:

    This is silly. When I see Kate commenting on blogs, she calls William ”DH”, so it’s ok if he calls her ”missus”.

  26. bettyrose says:

    The term itself isn’t bad, but it’s tiresome listening to men act like their wives sap all fun out of life. “Oh, I’d love to do that but the wife won’t let me.” Like men are just little boys at heart who have to be kept in line by their mean mommy-wives.

    • Zombie Shortcake says:

      I agree, though in his case there is literally a ‘mommy-wife’ duo in the marriage.

    • Lucky Charm says:

      Unfortunately, many of them are. I was married to one. His mother did him no favors when he was growing up by letting him do whatever he wanted, and whenever he felt like it. When our kids were old enough to start helping out, I realized exactly how childlike he really was. It’s exhausting and quite frustrating being the mommy wife of a man-child!

    • SG says:

      This. I work with a man who regularly refers to his wife as ‘the wife’ but he uses it to berate and make fun of her actions and intelligence. “Well if I could just get the wife on board” “guess what the wife did today” “well of course the wife really messed that up” “you know how it is with the wife”
      Two years and I haven’t heard him use her actual name. Context and intention is key. I don’t think William meant ‘the missus’ in the same way as the self-righteous asshat I interact with. Hopefully.

  27. plz says:

    indeed the jecca references are EXHAUSTING and she is engaged to another guy so it’s insulting also to all the parties involved

    • FLORC says:

      Is Jecca engaged? Last I read it was callled off some time ago. Is there news it’s back on?

  28. Bella245 says:

    Dh calls me the boss and I like it!

  29. Zombie Shortcake says:

    Maybe he mean’t Carole?

  30. HoustonGrl says:

    Oh puh-lease. I doubt William asks Kate for permission to do anything. She’s his doormat.

    • FLORC says:

      I think we’ve all made this point over time.
      Kate isn’t a fool. She’s crafty and this isn’t really an opinion. There are a great many calculated moves in how she courted William that are impossible to ignore. And Credit is deserved.
      To sum.. Kate could have married well and privately, but there are advantages to William. Her offspring would be taken care of in a very large way. Their wealth is secured regardless of what the market does. And being a public figure Kate will fair better in a possible divorce than in a private marriage.

      Their arrangement is interesting. And I think LAK covered it perfectly before. Should William be away too long Kate let’s a comment slip about his absence. A slip she knows better of.

  31. Angel says:

    So happy to read these comments:) I am getting so tired of the butt-hurt brigade, yay for common sense!

  32. hogtowngooner says:

    Having lived in the UK for a time (and dated a Brit), I was referred to as “the missus” a lot. Never bothered me, but that’s me.

    I’m actually more annoyed that Will seems bothered that Charlotte might end up being the Villa fan. Like, how awful to have a girl be a sports fan? Maybe I’m misinterpreting it, though: being a female sports fan, it’s a pet peeve of mine to be assumed that I’m not a “real” fan.

    Also, the FA Cup final is tomorrow, and Villa is playing Arsenal. COME ON ARSENAL! :)

    • msthang says:

      He’s trying to make it look like all is well between them!

    • KellyBee says:

      Yeah you completely misunderstood. He said he would be happy if George like Villa but Charlotte will probably end up liking them and another team.

  33. LAK says:

    I’m sure that was a frequent argument in the ten years of CD happy families when Camilla was brought up……..

    • FLORC says:

      Do you think there is something there? Or still a foundation to return to between William and Jecca?

    • LAK says:

      Florc: My comment above was in response to the previous 2 posters saying that they are bored with the Jecca references in William’s threads. Camilla was always around in the background of CD, but i’m sure these 2 posters would have dismissed her out of boredom and look how that turned out….

      That said, although Jecca is William’s non negotiable, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are having an affair.

      However, in the history of royals going back centuries, non negotiable tend to lead to something so it’s hard to ignore her completely.

      And Jecca clearly has the Middletons worried otherwise they wouldn’t sic their pap on her to say that she’s William’s Camilla with all that implies.

      However, to answer your other question, Jecca is engaged to someone new. It was announced a few months ago.

    • Liberty says:

      LAK, FLORC — okay I am super super tired after travel today and I read this and was all — “WHAT! William is seeing Jecca Duggar?” Honest to god. The world spun.

      I need food and a pillow.

    • LAK says:

      Jecca Duggar? LOL

      Mind you, William does have a nanny wife so you might be onto something…….

    • FLORC says:

      Haha! That would be something.

      Outside of physical relations i’ve always thought an emotional affair is far more damaging and hurtful. It doesn’t always lead to physical, but it lays some very heavy groundwork for a strong bond between the 2. Very much in a way like Jecca can give something to William that Kate cannot. That they were once a couple might be unsettling.
      IMO anyways.

  34. leidub311 says:

    Oh good Lord, this is really reaching for something to be “upset” about.

  35. Liberty says:

    “Oi Kev! Where’s my missus today, wot?”

    “Well to be tellin’ you true, she’s off with her Mum to the shops again. That woman’s a force, I don’t mind saying, Willy! She’s chucked out the china yer granny sent from the hall, said it’s too old and dusty! So she’s got your Kitty with her, and was telling her to go buy something unused and clean! Says no Queen tells Party Pieces how to lay the lunch! Pair of wildcats, they are!”

    “Oh that’s all right, Kev, I wanted a team that was more middle of the table, eh? That could give me more emotional roller coaster moments, wot?”

    “Too true, Willy, too true! I say, Can we run you up a fish ‘n’ chips? Toad in the hole?”

    • bluhare says:

      But what happened to Cressida 2?????

    • FLORC says:

      Toad in the hole? I bet this is yummy. …
      OMG! It had me at “Yorkshire pudding batter”!

      And lol!

    • Liberty says:

      Cressida 2 !!! Trying to do the work of a staff of 5 for a barking Mother Carole, wot?! While His Succulent Ginger Holiness is MILES away, no help in sight!

  36. Abby_J says:

    Really? I see nothing wrong with him calling her the Missus. I am glad that my husband and I are not famous, because the pet names we call each other would probably land us into sensitivity training, or something.

    As far as the implication of the statement, Eh. I don’t seen anything wrong with that either. I don’t think every stupid statement has some sort of implied sexism behind it. I just don’t.

  37. bored_01 says:

    Nonsense. Missus is a common in Britain (and in parts of Canada). I refer to my wife as the missus and she has called it to me.

  38. Navel Linty says:

    He called her THE MISSUS????

    *heavy breathing*
    *clutches pearls*
    *spills tea-wtih-milk-and-two-sugars all over the antimacassar*

    Why is the world still turning? This hedonistic sin cannot go unpunished. He should be made to wear a sandwich board outside Buckingham Palace loudly proclaiming his mistake and his intention to always refer to Kate’s proper title of “The Ol’ Ball & Chain” in all future in all future sexist interviews.

  39. Citresse says:

    William seems young to be calling Kate “the missus.” More common with older generations, I think.

  40. td says:

    Robert Downey Jr frequently refers to his wife the same way. Never seen this site call him out for it.

    • bluhare says:

      I don’t think you saw it here . Kaiser’s write up mentioned somewhere else saying it’s sexist and her not exactly agreeing with it. And reading the comments, I don’t see it here either.

  41. jodie says:

    As someone said up the thread, this is much ado about nothing. His sh*tty attitude, lack of a work ethic and sense of self-entitlement are more worthy of discussion. H*ll, on a superficial level, let’s rant and rave about his horsey looks and beaver teeth!!

  42. Feeshalori says:

    Eh, at least he acknowledges a relationship between them! It wouldn’t bother me if I were referred to that way.

  43. AtlLady says:

    I think it is rather sweet that William calls Catherine “the missus”. It seems like a small term of affection from a husband referring to his wife and is more dignified than something like “honey” or “sweetums”. What is he supposed to call her? The Duchess? At any rate, it is far better and more affectionate than what his own Mum called his Dad. Wasn’t Diana known to refer to Charles as “Fish Face”?

  44. Nina says:

    I don’t mind the term, provided the couple is happy together. My parents are separated, and my dad, who cats around with multiple women at a time, still calls my mother “the missus”, which I think is gross.

  45. Dena says:

    The Missus. Prickly Princess. The Missus. Prickly Princess. The Miss-us. Prickleeeeee Princess. Hmm. William scratches bald-spot, looks upward, rolls eyes, scratches bald-spot again, clenches jaw. The Missus. The Missus. Begins to practice saying it the same way his friends do when they mock him. The Missus. The Missus. No. No. No. That’s not how regular blokes say it. Hmm. How does Papa Mike say it? THE missus. Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s it. Yes. That is how I shall refer to Catherine. THE missus. It does have a nice colloquial middle class ring to it. Looks into mirror and continues to practice. THE missus. the MISSus. THE misSUS. The missUS. Rubs hands together in glee. Leaves the area feeling accomplished.

  46. Vava says:

    LOL. The bottom line is that William is a dweeb.

  47. Serenata says:

    I’ve lived in the UK and had a British boyfriend for a while (a couple of years) and I hated the term, I told him and asked him to please not call me that. Maybe it’s because I heard many guys/men saying it while drinking beer at the pub with the lads in this exact way “grateful for a few hours away from the old ball and chain” and making their partner sound like some kind of monster to be afraid of.
    I know a lot of guys/men may not say it in that way (at least not conciously) but IT IS being used in that way and it’s enough for me to say nope!
    PD: I don’t drink wine and say “ugh men”

    • Navel Linty says:

      Why was your boyfriend calling you his missus if you weren’t married?

      • LAK says:

        It’s origins are founded in marriage, but it has crossed over into a general term of endearment that men use for their wives and girlfriends.

  48. MadMenluv says:

    my husband and I call each other “Toots”…it’s an inside joke but our friends think it’s pretty weird and outdated lol

  49. Becks says:

    My guy doesn’t care what I call him as long as I call him for dinner.

    I lie, he cooks more and better than I do.

  50. sara says:

    Our newspapers love to make a big deal out of nothing. lol
    I don’t like either Will and Kate but the term missus is not sexist.

  51. Anguishedcorn says:

    Oh please. NBD.

  52. Iheartgossip says:

    I don’t think it’s wrong. I call my husband, The Mister. It’s not different than honey, babe, doll – whatever your heart feels like calling your other half.

  53. Original T.C. says:

    I guess I’m the only one who keyed in on Wills making a statement about a topics that is more important than the “Misses” nonevent. So racism in sports is less in England than other parts of Europe? Any Brits or Europeans want to school me on the validity of Will’s comment?

  54. Tough Cookie says:

    He’s such a fuddy-duddy. Any more every time I see him he looks like he wears the waistband of his trousers right up under his armpits.