Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s public displays of affection have been a talking point for many since the couple tied the knot exactly two months ago to this day. Even simple gestures such as holding hands in public have garnered controversy, as doing so is considered one of the many unwritten rules that royals need to follow. However, that hasn’t stopped them from being one of the royal family’s most affectionate couples, and there’s a good reason for that, according to a new report from People.
Speaking to People as part of the magazine’s cover story this week, royal photographer Mark Stewart said that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are two people who “don’t mind showing their emotions” and have no problem being seen in public holding hands with each other. As such, Harry and Meghan’s well-documented history of PDA starkly contrasts to how other royal couples, including Prince William and Kate Middleton, are rarely seen showing their affection to each other in public, particularly at official events.
Likewise, another person close to the royal family, former Buckingham Palace spokesman Dickie Arbiter, told People that it isn’t surprising how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren’t shy when it comes to the PDA.
“Meghan is used to being touchy-feely, and Harry is the same. Harry has always been tactile.”
Although Harry and Meghan first drew attention for their “touchy-feely” displays in September 2017, when they were spotted holding hands at the Invictus Games in Toronto during their first public event as a couple, their post-marriage PDA has led to a lot of whispers in recent weeks about Meghan breaking royal protocol as the new Duchess of Sussex. Most recently, Meghan was seen arm-in-arm with Harry when they posed for Prince Louis’ christening portrait last week, as noted by People. However, there doesn’t appear to be an official, written ban on public displays of affection, according to a previous report from The Sun.
Earlier this month, The Sun wrote that royals generally avoid holding hands in public because they want to follow the example set by Queen Elizabeth, who was rarely seen holding her husband Prince Philip’s hand during official events. This, according to body language expert Robin Kermode, has made avoiding PDA an “unwritten precedent” for other royals, as evidenced quite notably by William and Kate, who “do not seem to feel the need to prove their love” to the general public.
Whether explicitly or implicitly forbidden by royal protocol or not, Harry and Meghan’s public displays of affection are nonetheless “welcomed,” according to Beaumont Etiquette founder and director Myka Meier. She told People that these displays make the Duke and Duchess of Sussex more “lovable” to the public, and make them appear “refreshingly modern” as representatives of the British royal family and a newly married couple.