Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are madly in love—and, unlike the rest of the couples in the British royal family—they have no problem showing it.
Harry and Meghan are clearly comfortable with plenty of PDA. At last year’s Invictus Games, Harry and Meghan strolled hand in hand before the cameras, and even kissed, which sent the Twittersphere into overdrive.
Ever since announcing their engagement, Meghan has been photographed holding on to Harry for dear life. She is frequently seen clutching his hand with both of hers. In their official engagement portraits, the former actress is holding tight to Harry’s arm as she did on Christmas Day when she went to church with the royals at Sandringham.
Their outward signs of affection towards each other raise the question: Why don’t we see more PDA from the rest of the royal couples?
It all starts at the top. The Queen rarely holds hands with her husband in public and this seems to have set an unwritten precedent for the other royals. This is hardly surprising because, as sovereign, she always walks in front of her husband. The Duke of Edinburgh is a consort, so he walks behind her.
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are never photographed holding hands during official state visits, although it’s clear they adore each other. They’re a tad more touchy-feely when they’re not representing the crown and have often been spotted hugging and hand holding during down time. The couple surprised onlookers when they held hands walking with Harry and Meghan after church last month.
William and Catherine have displayed subtle signs of affection while on duty. William will frequently place a protective hand on his wife’s back during meet and greets. Catherine will sometimes rest her hand on her husband’s leg while they are sitting together as she did on their royal tour of Canada in 2016. But the couple has only kissed in public three times—and two of those occasions were during their wedding.
So why is Harry comfortable with PDA while William seems so much more reserved? It all comes down to Harry’s place in the line of royal succession.
When William and Catherine’s third child is born in April, Harry will drop down a spot and become sixth in line for the throne. This means it’s extremely unlikely Harry will ever be king and he’s not required to adhere to the same stringent decorum that rule William and Catherine’s lives.
Which also means we’re sure to see more royal rules broken by Harry, who has said he never wanted to be king in the first place.
All of this makes us even more excited for the upcoming wedding at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor. Since Harry and Meghan won’t be making the traditional post-ceremony appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, they’ll have to come up with their own way of kissing for the cameras. We can’t wait.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana: A Novel.
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