Prince Harry and Meghan Markle put on nonstop PDA while engaged. We’ve got details on why the newlyweds no longer hold hands when in the presence of Queen Elizabeth.
Prince Harry, 33, and Meghan Markle, 36, were so incredibly touchy-feely during their six month engagement. They were constantly holding hands, rubbing each others backs and other acts of PDA. But now that they’re married and Meghan is an official member of the British royal family, they’ve become noticeably less demonstrative, especially in front of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, 92. There’s a good reason for that, as the Queen frowns upon public displays of affection. In her 70 year marriage to Prince Phillip, 97, the couple respects the “stoic values” of their generation, royal biographer Gyles Brandreth tells PEOPLE. And out of respect, her family members do not show affection to spouses when in her presence.
While Harry is aware of no PDA in front of his Gran, Meghan apparently was unaware of the unwritten rules. When the couple attended the Young Leaders Reception at Buckingham Palace on June 26, she noticeably grabbed for his hand and Harry quickly moved his away, blocking her ability to latch onto him. Royal watchers were as quick to point out the former Suits actress’ faux pas as fast as they were to slam her for crossing her legs in an official photo with the Queen, as opposed to the crossed at the ankles “Duchess Slant” that is proper royal etiquette.
Harry’s brother Prince William and wife Kate Middleton rarely show PDA, as he’s the future king and is keeping with his grandmother’s traditional values. “It is rare to see royal couples holding hands on official outings,” royal etiquette expert Myka Meier, founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette, tells PEOPLE. “While we are much less likely to see The Duke and Duchess holding hands in public, we often see Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall holding hands – it’s all simply a matter of preference for each couple and is also likely dependent on the nature of the event they are attending. A more serious engagement would warrant a more serious level of professionalism, which each royal is sure to follow.”
Meghan has only been the Duchess of Sussex for six weeks so she’s probably still getting the hang of the do’s and don’ts of life as a royal. When she was engaged to Harry she wasn’t yet a member of the BRF so she got super used to holding on to her Prince constantly at every outing they went on. Now that she’s Royal Meghan, she’s learning she has to use a bit more restraint with her new husband. However Meier says that she can still hold his hand when they’re out together and not around the Queen. “Meghan and Prince Harry holding hands at a royal engagement is a refreshingly modern approach to their new role both as a couple and as representatives of the royal family,” she adds.