Why Iranian Paralympic Athlete Mehrdad Karam Zadeh Refused to Shake Kate Middleton's Hand

Celebrity News Sep. 3, 2012 AT 5:00PM
 Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge presents medals during the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford East London.  Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge presents medals during the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford East London. Credit: Alpha /Landov

Kate Middleton proudly hung the gold medal around 21-year-old British discus thrower Aled Davies' neck at the Paralympic Games in London September 2, but sadly, the moment was nearly overshadowed when Iran's Mehrdad Karam Zadeh declined to shake her hand.

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Both Davies and bronze medalist Lezheng Wang were receptive to Middleton's gesture, but silver medalist Zadeh, 40, avoided coming in contact with the 30-year-old royal. According to Middleton's spokesman, she was briefed beforehand that this might happen.

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"Many male athletes from Islamic countries do not shake hands in public with women they are not related to for cultural and religious reasons," Middleton's rep tells Us Weekly in a statement. "The Duchess was informed in advance and was happy to accept his wishes. She considered it an honor to present the medals."

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Middleton and her husband, Prince William, 30, will soon tour the South Pacific as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, celebrating her 60 years on the throne. Their travels kick off September 11 in Singapore.

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