People: Prince Harry & Meghan are used to being ‘touchy-feely,’ protocols be damned

Sussex Ireland visit

Maybe I’m just using this story as an excuse to post as many photos as I can find of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex touching each other. Would that be so wrong??? This week’s People Magazine cover story is all about Meghan and how she’s adjusting to royal life after two months. The first part of the cover story was about how Meghan gets frustrated with all of the dumbass “rules” and “protocols” she’s supposed to follow, for example the whole “women must wear skirts or dresses” thing. It’s not actually a rule or a protocol, it’s merely a preference of the Queen and the only people who care about that preference are nitpickers in the British media. Anyway, another part of the cover story is apparently about how tactile Harry and Meghan are with each other. Which I’m sure involves many lustful, sweaty broken protocols.

As soon as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle went public with their romance last year, it was clear that they were not afraid to show PDA. And those displays of affection have continued since Meghan became an official royal two months ago.

“They are not afraid to hold hands. They don’t mind showing their emotions,” veteran royal photographer, Mark Stewart, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.

Harry and Meghan memorably walked hand-in-hand at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September 2017 (their first public event!). The moment was a big deal to royal fans as members of the royal family (like Harry’s brother Prince William and Kate Middleton) rarely show PDA — especially at official outings. Those moments of intimacy have been on display at almost every event they’ve attended together (aside from their appearance alongside the Queen!).

“Meghan is used to being touchy-feely, and Harry is the same,” former palace spokesman, Dickie Arbiter, tells PEOPLE. “Harry has always been tactile.”

“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, told PEOPLE. “There is no protocol that says they can not show affection on official engagements, and this gesture makes them relatable and lovable to the public. 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.”

[From People]

People always talk about how Meghan specifically is doing the wrong thing or breaking some rule by holding Harry’s hand, but it’s not said enough: Harry is touchy-feely too. Not just with Meghan, with everybody. He’s his mother’s son in that way – Diana was very tactile and she loved to hug, embrace, hold hands and simply be close to people. Harry is the same. He was always going to end up with a woman who would touch him and hold his hand and want to be physically close to him. And yes, it is refreshing and I wish we would get more of it.

Sussex Ireland day 2

Royal Ascot 2018 - Day 1

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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67 Responses to “People: Prince Harry & Meghan are used to being ‘touchy-feely,’ protocols be damned”

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  1. Astrid says:

    This couple makes me smile. Bless them!

    • Dee says:

      Such a happy part of this terrible world these days.
      These pics are adorable. Love the tiny gentle finger-touching. <3

    • Jan90067 says:

      I always come here first to see if there’s a H & M story. They make me smile, too. You can never have enough love in this world, esp. now. I really like seeing the way they look at each other, reach out to touch each other’s hand, etc. I think the little touches are endearing and sweet.

      My parents were married for 30 years (before she died), and they *always* held hands.

      To those that don’t like it, I say keep calm and (let them) carry on! 😊

    • Lilly says:

      So much! My go to brightness in tough moments of the general news. The Ascot photo especially.

  2. Jane says:


    • Pft! says:

      Exactly, they are human, in love and alive. I enjoy their lighthearted and appropriate PDA. I think it is heartwarming healthy even for royals and makes them more relatable. Somewhere i read that holding hands with your significant other makes your heart rates match and if one of the poeple in the pair are in pain, just holding hands can reduce the pain tremendously. So, stuffy nitpickers: get yourselves someone to hold hands with, you won’t end up pregnant from it, i promise (rolling my eyes)…

      • bettyrose says:

        IKR? They’re not gross-get-a-room touchy feely, they’re two-people-in-love affectionate. (They’re also both smokin’ hotties, which I’m sure they’ve noticed.)

  3. Gaby says:

    I think is lovely, and you can actually notice sometimes when they are trying to refrain from touching each other. As in: “is SO difficult” to not hold the other one.

    I don’t think is unprofessional at all, and it does make them more relatable.

    • Pft! says:

      This! Holding hands with your spouse should be seen as a sign of healthy love and attachment. It’s not like they are full on making out. I think those who criticize them being so tactile are just very jealous. Let them be, hand holding is appropriate in public, it says: we are together, we are in love.
      Oh, how dare they be in love and show it?! Get over it nitpickers!

    • Erinn says:

      I think it’s sweet that they want to be touching and close to each other. I’ve been with my husband since we were 14. I hate to be apart from him. We hold hands, we’re close.

      But I can’t imagine being taken seriously at MY job if I spent a bunch of time touching and holding hands with my husband. I can see why that aspect of it is frowned upon. It’s part of their literal job – they’re not out running errands, or showing up at a family members birthday or relaxing around their home. They’re there to work. And seeing as a lot of their work is for short chunks of time and not a regular 40 hour work week, I also don’t think it would kill them to tone it down during events.

      I see both sides of it, I guess. But again – if my husband worked in my office it wouldn’t go over well if we were snugged up and holding hands.

      • Amelie says:

        So I googled Michelle and Barack Obama and Google Images shows plenty of pictures of them being tactile, holding hands, hugging, kissing etc. I didn’t even have to scroll. One of the things we loved about them is they were clearly an affectionate, solid couple. I think this was one of the only things the Republicans didn’t harp on was the Obamas’ PDA. If we didn’t hassle the Obamas about it, not sure why we should hassle Harry and Meghan.

        Working in an office, the dynamic is quite different. You are working in closed quarters, seeing the same people every day. In fact they say you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your friends and family. I don’t think anyone would mind the occasional hug or holding hands. But yeah, if you were doing this every day and all over each other, that would be a problem.

      • Gaby says:

        They don’t stand on a podium holding hands. They don’t snuggle on Buckingham Palace’s balcony. They hold hands when they walk from point A to point B, in front of many people taking pictures, he touches her back when she walks in front of him, they pose close together for pictures.

        It is work, but their work is to interact with people. If people praise them for playing with kids, holding babies, hugging refugees, why can’t they hold each other’s hand?

      • bettyrose says:


        The Obamas are such a good example! They are so clearly in love and best friends, and their public affection for one another is completely appropriate.

        I think we can all agree that touchy feely needs to be put on hold at somber events, but unless that ever happens, where’s the harm?

  4. Pamm says:

    My thinking is Meghan clings to him most often for reassurance which is normal. As she gets used to her role, the touchy thing will naturally reduce. Most newly weds including me are usually touchy feely until they get more used to each other. It’s very normal. New brooms sweep clean.

    • Pft! says:

      Been with my hubby for 5 years and we still hold hands constantly even though we are very secure in our marriage. It is automatic, like a habit. I was gone on my own for 4 days for the first time since we married and i missed dearly not being able to hold his hand or feel him next to me. When i came back home we were so happy to be back together and he said he felt anxious when i wasn’t there. We are not overly clingy, we have jobs, hobbies and other activities but we have always been very tactile and always seek physical contact with each other. I figured after 5 years that would naturally decrease but our mutual attachment has actually become stronger overtime. Go figure. I’m not complaining, i am actually thrilled it has gotten stronger rather than dwindling down. I’d been in several long term relationships that followed the dwindling pattern and i was never fully happy in them. Until i met my hubby and it is SO different, very fulfilling. Maybe we both have the same level of needs and fulfill each other equally. I hope Meg and Harry remain touchy feely for the rest of their lives. It would be beyond lovely to see them old and wrinkly but still enjoying holding hands…how sweet would that be?

    • Guest says:

      I always figured she hung onto him for balance in those 4″ heels :) I’d wear heels too (up to 1/4 inch!!!!) if I had a Handsome Harry of mine own to hang onto

      • Wheeeeeee says:

        This! I’d wish for a bit of support too if I were wearing heels and walking on grass/cobblestones/uneven ground — or if I had a husband like him to lean on. I think it’s sweet.

  5. kate says:

    They are adorable and look madly in love with each other, which is frankly heartwarming to see these days but I wish people would stop calling whatever is that they are doing “working”. Can you imagine going to work and constantly holding your SO’s hand. Ah, I wish!

    • formerly known as Amy says:

      schmoozing and talking to random strangers is work and can get exhausting. I was .a waitress once.

  6. Iknow says:

    So when Meghan and Harry stop touching and holding hands in public, I guess we’ll know the state of their marriage. I love that they express their feelings for each other through little intimate touches. It’s sweet and endearing.

    • DizzyLizzy says:

      Agreed. This is why I think they should re-think the PDA’s.

      • Molly says:

        There are a lot more ways to signal a healthy, happy marriage beyond hand-holding. Charles and Camilla aren’t touchy, and they always look comfortable, connected, and happily married. Will and Kate give each other sweet gazes and easy laughs, and they only hold hands once a year at Christmas.
        Harry and Meghan’s physical touching may diminish as their roles evolve, but there are plenty of other body language signs to a solid relationship.

      • minx says:

        Yeah, I think it’s sweet and hot that they are affectionate. I also think PDA isn’t a barometer of anybody’s marriage. My husband and I had our 40th anniversary in June and have never been big on PDA, that’s just us.

      • Leyton says:


        That’s not actually true. I’ve seen Charles and Camilla kiss in public far more times than I want to admit. We’ve never caught a moment like that between Harry and Meghan.

        Every couple is different. We have to remember that Harry is a very affectionate man. We’ve seen plent of pictures from him in his childhood holding his parents hands,hugging, and kissing them. He’s even more affectionate with people he just meets and kids. I think that’s the kind of man he is and Meghan probably likes it as well.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Charles and Camilla are touchy feely and often hold hands, put arms around each others waists, etc. during engagements.

  7. Anna nuttall says:

    I’ve been with my partner over 17 years (5 of that being marriage), and we’re still touchy-feely. Some couples are like that – while some ain’t. Personally i want H&M to keep on with the PDA and the little touchy-feeling. It cute and it always so nice to see people in love.

    • Pamm says:

      Anna, tocuhy feely is amazing to see. Obama and Mitchel hold hands sometimes as well, though not as often as H and M.

    • C-Shell says:

      This. When someone says it will pass once Meghan is more self-assured in her role, I just SMH. My late husband and I held hands everywhere and all the time for the 20 years we had together; so much so that after he died, that’s the single thing people said to me — that they would always envision the two of us together, holding hands. I hope H&M never stop showing this connection. It’s lovely and sweet and we are lucky to have that image to relieve the bitterness we see 24/7 these days.

      • Lithe says:

        Sorry for your loss, @C-Shell. I hope you are surrounded by people who help you keep your husband’s memory alive.

        ITA with you and the other posters who enjoy H&M’s (restrained—IMO) shows of affection. In a world where unkindness seems to be the order of the day, H&M are indeed a bright spot, even though I am far more restrained than they are.

      • Lady D says:

        I’m sorry for your loss too, C-Shell. Twenty years is agonizingly short to be with the one you love most. I hope some peace finds you.

  8. DizzyLizzy says:

    I love that they are affectionate to each other. At the the same time I wish they would not hold hands on official engagements for two reasons;

    (1) So that in times when they’re going things as a couple it does not become immediately apparent.

    (2) So that there is a clear separation between work and play.

    Away from the more official engagements, holding hands for evening engagements and the more fun ones makes sense.

  9. Becks1 says:

    I love seeing them touch each other. I hate the criticism that pops up on IG and FB about how Meghan is “clingy” and Harry “is trying to get her to stop” or whatever nonsense people spout. It’s clear that Harry wants to touch her as much as she wants to touch him (like the picture at Ascot.)

  10. TheHeat says:

    A. I recall quite a number of occasions where William and Kate have been touchy-feeling
    B. I highly doubt that this is a matter of protocol, but merely who they all are as people
    C. Can people please STOP the constant comparisons? Please? I’m being polite.

  11. MeghanNotMarkle says:

    I love that they aren’t afraid to be who they are in public. My husband and I have been together for 8 years and still hold hands when we’re out. There’s nothing wrong with our marriage or with us. It’s not some desperation or clinging. Some folks must be throwing out their backs from reaching so much.

    • DizzyLizzy says:

      Thing is do you hold hands at work ?

      I think that is the basis for criticism I don’t like it myself – but there is a point.

      For other things I would say people are being picky, but this one leaves them open on a number of fronts.

      • Nic919 says:

        Charles and Camilla have held hands at engagements. So I guess they are holding hands at work too.

      • Mae says:

        I understand that if you work in let’s say an office environment, it might not be appropriate if you are holding hands with your partner the entire time you are working at your desk. Or if you are holding hands in front of your boss. But Harry and Meghan only hold hands when going from point A to point B in their engagements. Or they touch each other’s backs when doing walkabouts or if one is walking ahead of the other. It’s not like they hold hands while Harry is up in the podium making a speech. Or when they meet Ireland’s president or PM. They don’t hold hands when speaking to people in charity engagements. Or on the palace balcony Or inside a church. Or in front of the queen. Going back to the office example, surely you and your partner can hold hands when walking from the car to the office? Or if you see each other in the hallway you can chat and maybe touch your partners arms or back? Is that Inappropriate? There are levels of PDA, and IMO Harry and Meghan are fine.

      • Lithe says:

        Well said, @Mae. So far, I haven’t seen any behaviour from them that I would consider to be unprofessional. They are respectful, attentive and clearly demonstrate interest when they are engaging with others. The criticism of their PDA seems very petty to me, and this is coming from someone who is not openly demonstrative in public.

  12. Pamm says:

    The Sun UK has reported that KP has dismissed People’s Magazines claims that Meghan finds the plalace rules and protocol stiffling. They also report that Meghan plans to visit her father when she goes to the UK.

  13. Nic919 says:

    Charles and Camilla will often hold hands and when Charles and Diana were first married they did as well. No one was harping about protocol when they do it. It’s just another way to go after Meghan for protocol that has never existed but suddenly does for her. No one was going after Sarah Ferguson like this when she first married into the family and she was often less graceful than Diana about doing things. Obviously the toe sucking thing changed how she was covered, but the nitpicking about everything Meghan has done right from the start is unique. I wonder why she would be treated so differently. 🤔

    • SlightlyAnonny says:

      There’s a gif on tumblr of a young Chuck and Diana at some function and he pats her on the rear and she is into it. Clearly, protocol is very convenient.

    • notasugarhere says:

      This. Charles and Camilla are always holding hands, he helps her up and down stairs, they stand with their arms around each others back, he calls her “his darling wife” during engagements.

  14. JaneDoesWork says:

    I have thoughts on their idea of “touchy feely.” It doesn’t bother me when they aren’t at an official event, but when they are interacting with others they just met and are at an official event and holding hands it just strikes me as unprofessional and immature. Have you ever been to a work function where people were holding hands? It always kind of makes people more aware of the fact themselves and i feel like when at royal events, they should be focused on putting others at ease. Thats just me though, I’m not dying over it, just an opinion.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Do you also complain about Charles and Camilla doing the same? Or just Meghan and Harry? Let me guess.

      • Lizabeth says:

        Not answering for @Janedoeswork but for myself. The PDA between H/M is OK and I don’t think it is any sort of protocol violation. However, for me, seeing a long-married couple like C/C holding hands at a work event or seeing a long-married husband help his wife out of a car/on stairs etc at a work event just feels different from seeing a major amount of touching and eye-gazing, hand holding, finger and back rubbing, and so forth from a just-married couple. The former seems sweet, the latter…well, sweet maybe but also seems to send the msg “we just can’t keep our hands to ourselves.” Too much of that at work makes others feel awkward almost like voyeurers. So yes, I would like to see a little less of it from H/M and no, I’ve not criticized C/C for it. I don’t think the PDA we saw early on between Charles and Diana was pervasive so it was a non-issue. The media access was also quite different.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Heaven forbid a newly-married couple hold hands, look at each other lovingly, etc. on the job. Felipe and Letizia, Victoria and Daniel, W-A and Maxima all do the same. So much condemnation, most of which I find comes from W&K fans who don’t like the comparison.

      • Lizabeth says:

        I do realize they are newly married @Nota. And perhaps that’s why we are seeing so much PDA. Besides W/K and H/M being different people/different couples with different dynamics, we didn’t see as much of Will and Kate together at different events early in their marriage. I’m not a W/K defender but when those defending H/M’s PDA say things like it’s so sexy, they are so hot for each other, rubbing fingers is a great way to flirt, Sussex becomes SusSEX, before people are tempted to shout “get a room” I just feel toning it down a bit–not stopping but toning it down– would be good. After all, like all royal appearances theirs are usually pretty brief. So if appearing for 45 min, walking in holding hands might be enough without back/ finger rubbing thrown in with periods of gazing into each other’s eyes during those 45 min. If the PDA IS because they are newlyweds, toning it down in public will probably only make them hotter for each other later so no harm to them!

      • passerby says:

        LOL @ toning it down… It’s not even toned up.. goodness. I think some of yall are about to pop your pearl necklaces.

  15. Anon says:

    There are photos of the Queen and Phillip engaging in PDA. I doubt most of these alleged “protocols” exist outside of the tabloids. Most of the stuff the tabloids have claimed is a breach of protocol is stuff the Queen herself does!

  16. Lucy says:

    I once saw someone on the Internet call them “the Duke and Duchess of HotSex”. ;)

  17. Alexandria says:

    That first photo, is Harry smouldering or what? He’s like ‘yeah I got my lady and she’s got me, you got a problem with that?’

  18. Citresse says:

    I’m hoping for a baby announcement by end of September! Also, just wanted to say I love MM’s hair when photographed in Ireland, the waves looked really pretty. H&M are a beautiful couple.

  19. Avery says:

    I love them beings so tactile. Especially Harry. I think that it’s an American vs British Royalty thing as well. Wasn’t it at one point to be touchy- was gauche? Also, being touch at “work” it is not a fair comparison. Our jobs and their “work” is apples and oranges. Their work are a lot of social events and interacting and engaging people….not office work, or a construction worker or teacher for goodness sake.

  20. Sv says:

    Their PDA is one reason I expect their marriage to last. Harry was hugging and touching essentially since he was born. It’s clear from all of the photos that have been published that Meghan is the same way. She’ll walk arm in arm with her mother or best friend as well. I also don’t expect the PDA to diminish because it is in the natures and they have been holding hands since the first photos of them were captured. This is who they are.

  21. liriel says:

    Let them be. I mean I understand both sides of the argument, in the office I’d be like “not appropriate” but during the walk from a to b- I’m fine.
    I really believe that they’re in love but I hate that everyone thinks they’re madly in love because they’re touchy-feely. First of all, it’s personal preference (look at Camila and Charles, yuck, so many years together, so much lust, so much history yet they were reserved in public), second – they’re together not too long so still ‘honeymoon’ stage and most important – such gestures often mean nothing. How many celebrities get magazine convers together and they kiss in the pictures telling how much they love each other. Then they divorce one year later.

  22. minx says:

    People, the Captain Obvious of magazines.

  23. themummy says:

    Well, I know people have many strong opinions on the existence of the Royal family in the first place, of what they do (and don’t do), etc., but all of that aside:

    I think they are adorable and it’s lovely and refreshing to see. :)

  24. Tashiro says:

    I think it’s lovely 😍

  25. liriel says:

    I didn’t know where to post but don’t you think that in completely different ways of expressing it both prince Harry and William were longing for affection and a bit of motherly figure at the same time? I mean many people need that but many noted that at first Meghan was the confident one, guiding Harry who seemed like a lost puppy in love. She was in command while doing beautiful dovy eyes at him. She gave him love, lots of affection. He wants a family.
    The same can be said about William. We see that Kate really is glowing around kids, her mother is very alpha and William loved her family. Kate was also shown to be maternal towards William before and with 3 kids now I see that’s her calling.
    What I’m saying that outside of passion William and Harry needed someone who would take care of them, be affectionate, cuddly. And they chose partners that that gave them that. They chose partners with a strong maternal and affectionate side. No cold cynical crowd or women with huge ego, drama queens.
    I could have worded this better but I hope you get what I meant. To clarify, I meant it all in a very good way!

  26. teehee says:

    I find it generally dichotomous, that children are supposed to be showered with affection, contact, positivity and engagement, but as soon as they are adults, the same things are considered a social crime and are banned.

    ……. we always need these things

    • liriel says:

      Agreed but some people need it more some or less. Some women are into bad boys, some guys are into indifferent princesses or a life of a party with huge ego. Power balance. Some people do affection less. I’m not into cuddling at all – that’s my preference. I also prefer to see action than hear words and don’t need constant reassurance, the constant “ILY” was boring to me. I’m more robotic in that way. Many of my friends are totally different than me so it varies.