Kate Middleton sat in front of an upside down Union Jack

Chris Chase

Kate Middleton has been an immaculate representative of British royalty during the first 10 days of the Olympics. She's cheered on Rebecca Adlington at the swimming pool, did the wave at the Velodrome, looked radiant at Wimbledon, spent some quality time with her brother-in-law at equestrian and did a remarkable job of feigning interest in handball. They called her husband's mother, Princess Diana, "the people's princess." Kate seems to be striving for the same adoration.

So even when she accidentally sits in front of an upside-down British flag, as she did on Sunday, it's bound to cause nary a ripple. Kate was at the gymnastics venue and appeared to unknowingly be sitting above an improperly hung Union Jack.

[ Related: Kate and William cheer from the cheap seats ]

A flag hanging upside down is a signal of distress or an intentional insult. Unless this flag happened to be placed there by a subtle anti-royal or a wayward sea captain who thought the gymnastics venue was the Atlantic, we can chalk it up to accident.

Then again, Kate was forced to watch pommel horse, a fate which would cause most Olympic goers to flip over their flags in distress. Yet there was good news to be had on the apparatus: British gymnasts Louis Smith and Max Whitlock won silver and bronze in the competition, respectively.

[ Photos: The Royals take in the London Games ]

It can be difficult to tell when the Union Jack is upside down (unlike, say, the American flag). The Daily Mail explained how to spot a rogue flag after a similar flap during a ceremony at 10 Downing Street a few years ago. "Properly, the thick white section of the diagonal should appear above the red stripe on the side nearest the flagpole," the London newspaper advised.

The British press that we could find avoided mention of the incident. Under ordinary circumstances, this would have been front-page fodder for the tabloids. When it happens in the midst of the greatest weekend in the history of the country's athletic history, it rightfully doesn't rate.

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