Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, created social media trends and headlines with a public display of affection during a short service to honor Queen Elizabeth II, who died Sept. 8.
Reactions were mixed after the pair were observed holding hands as they walked in procession with the royal family to Westminster Hall in London.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to hold hands while leaving Westminster Hall yesterday has divided royal fans. The royal family is typically discouraged from showing PDA.
What are your thoughts?
📸: Getty pic.twitter.com/D7BTLoBbY6
— Breakfast Television (@breakfasttv) September 15, 2022
The other royal couples — including Harry’s brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales — walked with their hands at their sides.
Royal expert Shannon Felton Spence told Fox News the action was likely a “loving show of support” from Meghan to her husband, but it was surprising since it happened while they were “on the job.”
“While there are no formal ‘rules’ against PDA, we don’t often see it from the royals because usually when we see them they are on the job,” Spence said.
“They are presenting their most professional appearance. When we see William and Catherine out, they are husband and wife colleagues,” she added.
Spence noted that public displays of affection are seen from members of the royal family but are far less common at formal functions.
“It does happen, but usually always setting appropriate or a less formal event (like if they are playing a sport),” she told Fox News. “That’s why it’s so striking that Harry and Meghan have always been so overtly affectionate with each other.
“It’s not that it’s unusual for a husband and wife, it’s that we’re just not used to seeing it from the royals while they are on the job.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were met with a wide range of online reactions.
Meghan Markle is such a supportive wife to Prince Harry.
The best of the British royal family ❤️ https://t.co/8rlPb1edC5
— Paula (@Walsh2Paula) September 14, 2022
Painful to watch the ceremony today and see the arrogance of a traitor and his wife standing in front of the woman they have BOTH tormented relentlessly for nearly 3 years…and couldn’t wait till they got into the car before holding hands? The pair of them are a disgrace!
— Selma joyce (@SelmaHassan13) September 14, 2022
Keep holding hands Harry and Meghan. It amuses me to see people bothered by it. Lol
— Jennifer Watts (@JenniferEWatts) September 14, 2022
The Royal Family leave our beloved Queen in Westminster Hall with grace and dignity except for Harry and Meghan who just have to hold hands like two lovesick teenagers. They really get on my nerves.
— Lainey L (@LaineyL10) September 14, 2022
Others on social media pointed out that Zara Tindall, daughter of Anne, Princess Royal, and her husband, Mike Tindall, held hands as they arrived at Westminster Hall. But an important distinction in British custom is that they do not hold royal titles.
Spence, however, still argued that the display of affection between Harry and Meghan was understandable.
“I’ll give them a pass for today when they were walking out of Westminster Hall because that procession had to be very traumatizing for Harry, and they are all grieving,” she told Fox News.
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