Meghan and Harry depart Queen's funeral hand-in-hand

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·4 min read
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex appear to hold hands as they follow the coffin of the Queen out of Westminster Abbey. (Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex appear to hold hands as they follow the coffin of the Queen out of Westminster Abbey. (Getty Images)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were captured holding each other's hands in a touching gesture of support as they left Westminster Abbey earlier today, following the state funeral of Prince Harry's late grandmother, the Queen.

As is obligatory during mourning periods, Meghan, 41, wore an all-black outfit for the sombre occasion, consisting of an elegant dress with cape detailing at the shoulders.

Earlier this morning, the duchess arrived at the historic building in a car with the Countess of Wessex, while her husband Prince Harry walked in the procession behind his grandmother's coffin.

Later, Meghan joined her husband to walk behind the late monarch's coffin with her brother and sister-in-law and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who are also attending today's state funeral.

The couple appear to clasp hands as they follow the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children out of Westminster Abbey. (Getty Images)
The couple appear to clasp hands as they follow the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children out of Westminster Abbey. (Getty Images)

But it was during their exit following the service that the couple made the brief gesture of support.

They certainly weren't the only attendees holding hands either. Earlier this morning, President Joe Biden was seen clutching his wife, the First Lady, Jill Biden's hand while walking down the nave at Westminster Abbey.

And Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, were also spotted with clasped hands on arrival at the service.

It isn’t the first time Meghan and Harry have been seen displaying affection towards one another during the official mourning period following the Queen’s death, but the common gesture of support seems to have caused something of a furore online.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive holding hands for the funeral of the Queen. (Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive holding hands for the funeral of the Queen. (Getty Images)
Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Trudeau, were also seen holding hands at the state funeral. (Getty Images)
Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Trudeau, were also seen holding hands at the state funeral. (Getty Images)

On the weekend immediately following the Queen’s death, Prince Harry and Meghan joined the newly-appointed Prince and Princess of Wales, at Windsor Palace as they looked at the tributes for the late monarch and interacted with the people gathered there.

While Harry and Meghan clasped hands, William and Kate remained somewhat un-touching for the walkabout to greet royal fans.

And last Wednesday, during a short service honouring Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also held hands as they left Westminster Hall.

In contrast, some of the other royal couples involved in the procession, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, walked with their arms at their sides.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex held hands during a walkabout with the Prince and Princess of Wales to greet royal well-wishers following the Queen's death. (Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex held hands during a walkabout with the Prince and Princess of Wales to greet royal well-wishers following the Queen's death. (Getty Images)
Social media expressed mixed reactions about Prince Harry and his wife holding hands at Westminster Hall last week. (Getty Images)
Social media expressed mixed reactions about Prince Harry and his wife holding hands at Westminster Hall last week. (Getty Images)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s gestures of support received something of a mixed reaction on social media.

While some praised the displays of affection as touching, particularly at such an emotional time, others questioned whether it was appropriate.

Watch: Queen's children and grandchildren walk behind coffin at funeral

Soon after, however, other social media users came to the couple's defence by pointing out that other members of the Royal Family had partaken in similar displays of affection at the same event.

Images showed Zara Tindall, Princess Anne's daughter, receiving a comforting finger squeeze from her husband, Mike Tindall, during the service.

The supportive gesture from her spouse, whom she married in 2011, was clearly a sign of comfort during the emotional proceedings.

As non-working royals, Zara Tindall and her husband Mike Tindall are often seen holding hands, pictured during a procession with the Queen's coffin last week. (Getty Images)
As non-working royals, Zara Tindall and her husband Mike Tindall are often seen holding hands, pictured during a procession with the Queen's coffin last week. (Getty Images)

But it seems there's a simple explanation as to why certain royals partake in public hand-holding while others refrain.

Although public displays of affection, such as hand-holding, are fairly uncommon among working members of the Royal Family, for those who aren't working royals, such as the Tindalls and Harry and Meghan, it is a far more frequent occurrence.

However, even among the more senior working royals, public gestures of support are not totally unknown.

While they didn't hold hands, last week the Prince and Princess of Wales were also seen sharing a gesture of support as they met service personnel ahead of the Queen's funeral.

Prince William, 40, wrapped his arm around his wife as they spoke to troops in a rare, touching moment between the couple.

As the first in line to the throne, it is unusual for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall to express their affection during public appearances but, when appropriate, they have been seen to show support to one another.