Just like shellfish, garlic, bright nail polish and bare legs are "no-nos" for the British royal family, public displays of affection are generally forbidden. Just like you'll rarely see Duchess Kate and Prince William holding hands, you'll never spot the queen snuggling up to Prince Philip or Prince Charles and Duchess Camila sneaking a kiss.
Even when the family gets together, they always say hello with a proper curtsey, rarely a kiss on the cheek or even a hug (at least in public). Remember when Duchess Kate put her hand on Prince William's lap during a live television segment (gasp!) last year, much of the public flipped at this rare PDA moment.
However, this rule seemingly doesn't apply to newlyweds Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Unlike the rest of the royal family, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been spotted numerous times with their fingers intertwined, or with Harry's hands on the small of Meghan's back.
“Meghan is used to being touchy-feely, and Harry is the same,” explained Dickie Arbiter, former palace spokesman, to People. Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess are much more private. "We don’t need to see too much—they have a private life of their own," explained Grant Harrold, the former butler of Prince Harry and William, to Time.
These PDA-filled moments really depend on "where the royals are and what situation they’re in,” Harrold continued. So, the couples might be on their best behavior for Remembrance Sunday, but let loose at Prince Charles' garden party.
And while there is no specific royal rule that forbids these kinds of affectionate displays, Queen Elizabeth II has set a precedent that encourages royals to "keep their hands to themselves." But especially since Prince Harry is now sixth-in-line to the throne, he may be allowed to enjoy newlywed life without the strict protocol that accompanies it.
Explained royal etiquette expert to People, “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."
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