Royal Watch News
Duchess Catherine snubbed by Iranian athlete
Sep 5, 2012, 19:20 GMT
Britain's Duchess Catherine has been snubbed by an Iranian athlete who refused to shake her hand at the London 2012 Paralympics.
The brunette royal presented discus thrower Mehrdad Karam Zadeh with a silver medal at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London, on Sunday (02.09.12), but instead of offering his hand to the duchess he clutched both hands to his chest.
The 40-year-old sportsman's decision is thought to have been based on Iranian cultural form, which doesn't allow men to shake hands with unrelated women.
The Iranian delegation in London told Paralympic Games organisers that Zadeh's decision was not politically motivated, and St. James's Palace revealed Catherine, who didn't offer her hand to the athlete, was told of the situation in advance.
A St. James's Palace spokesman told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: 'Many male athletes from Islamic countries do not shake hands in public with women they are not related for cultural and religious reasons.
'The duchess was informed in advance and was happy to accept his wishes. She considered it an honour to present the medals.'
Catherine - who was known as Kate Middleton prior to marrying Prince William last year - also presented a gold medal to British discus thrower Aled Davies, and she is said to have found it a 'happy coincidence' that she was able to present a prize to a member of Paralympics GB.
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