Meghan Markle and Prince Harry continue to buck royal conventions with their public displays of affection. The newlyweds shared a sweet kiss on the lips on Thursday during the awards ceremony for the Sentebale Polo Match. At first, the Duchess of Sussex handed the trophy to Harry’s teammate on the day, Nacho Figueras, and gave him a double kiss on the cheek. But then she turned to her husband and planted a quick peck on his lips.
It’s not common to see royal couples show public displays of affection. As the Daily Mail notes, Prince William and Kate Middleton hardly ever hold hands or kiss in public. There’s no written rule that forbids it but, a body language expert told the Daily Mail that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tend to follow Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s example. The senior royals may have shied away from showing affection, but this could be because she’s the monarch and because they grew up during a more conservative time period.
‘The Queen rarely holds hands with her husband in public and this seems to have set an unwritten precedent for the other royals,” said Robin Kermode, the founder of body language coaching company Zone2.co.uk.
“It is very clear that William and Kate are emotionally close, however, they do not seem to feel the need to prove their love – particularly when on official state business.”
A kiss for Harry from Meghan! pic.twitter.com/3Y7aNhcnKR
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) July 26, 2018
But Prince Harry and Meghan have been different. They held hands during the entirety of their engagement announcement interview. Behind the scenes footage also showed them playfully goofing off afterward with their fingers still entwined.
Compare that to William and Kate’s interview in which they sat close to one another, but never held hands.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may be more open to showing affection in public because Meghan is American. PDA is less taboo in the U.S. and often expected from a high-profile couple. Meghan is often seen rubbing Harry on the back when they’re in public and some body language interpreters have called that a soothing mechanism.
Patti Wood, author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, told Elite Daily that the way Meghan does it could indicate that she’s expressing her maternal instinct.
“You’re more likely to do a motion like that to your child but the timing of it is fascinating,” she said of the way Meghan touched Harry at their first royal appearance. “I’m remembering a lot of video footage I saw of the first time they went public where she does this, but I’ve also seen a lot of it since then — it seems to be that when she needs comforting she touches him in a maternal way.”
But since they’ve been married, royal observers have noted that they tone down their affection when they’re around the queen, the Huffington Post reports. But Queen Elizabeth was not at the polo match today so their love for each other was on full display.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 26, 2018