The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment has prompted yet another unnecessary scandal.
As we all know, Meghan Markle – formally referred to nowdays as the Duchess of Sussex – can’t even sit on a chair without sparking a boringly unnecessary scandal at the moment. So, naturally, we weren’t all that surprised when we learned that she and Prince Harry’s appearance in Prince Louis’ official christening photos had been met with hand-wringing from royal experts.
In the first of four pictures taken by photographer Matt Holyoak, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Kate Middleton and Prince William can be seen gathered around in the Morning Room at Clarence House following Prince Louis’ baptism in the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace.
In the second, Holyoak captures a mother-son moment between the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Louis. The third, meanwhile, sees the family of five joined by Prince Harry and Meghan, Prince Charles and Camilla, and Kate’s family including Carole and Michael Middleton, James Middleton, Pippa Middleton and her husband James Matthews.
However, it’s the fourth shot that has really gotten tongues wagging. Why? Because – you guessed it – Meghan can be seen looping her arm through that of her husband’s.
While there is no written rule that says Meghan and Harry must refrain from being tactile with one another, etiquette experts have stressed that the royal family is taught to follow the queen’s lead.
“The queen rarely holds hands with her husband in public, and this seems to have set an unwritten precedent for the other royals,” body language expert, Robin Kermode told the Daily Mail.
He went on to explain that “technically, the couple are working representatives of the British monarchy. The couple are [expected] to show very little PDA, if any, to remain professional during their designated roles.”
Holyhead, comparing Meghan and Harry’s relationship to that of Kate and William (because of course), added: “Some public figures use hand-holding as a deliberate act to prove that their relationship is solid, but this isn’t something Prince William and Kate struggle with.”
It is worth noting that, while the likes of William (second-in-line to the throne) and Kate are expected to make like the Queen and Prince Phillip and avoid touching one another in public, royal protocol has reportedly been relaxed for Harry and Meghan.
Indeed, according to People, arm-linking has fast become Harry and Meghan’s “signature move”.
“While Prince Harry and Meghan holding hands is atypical for royal engagements, it is a seemingly welcomed gesture to show unity and celebration of their engagement period,” royal etiquette expert Myka Meier, founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette, explained to the publication.
“There is no protocol that says they cannot show affection on official engagements, and this gesture makes them relatable and lovable to the public.”
She added: “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.”