With all the attention that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's regular, tradition-breaking public displays of affection have received in recent months, it's only natural to wonder whether all that hand-holding is just for the cameras. According to several sources close to the palace, however, Harry and Meghan's PDA is 100 percent real: Not only are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex just that into each other, they're both also very affectionate people by nature, as those insiders shared in this week's issue of People.
"They are not afraid to hold hands. They don't mind showing their emotions," Mark Stewart, a longtime royal photographer, told the magazine. Dickie Arbiter, a former spokesperson for the royal family, agreed, saying, "Meghan is used to being touchy-feely, and Harry is the same." He added, "Harry has always been tactile."
Though Harry's older brother Prince William is much less likely to show any PDA while on royal outings with Kate Middleton, there's no explicit rule against it. "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," Myka Meier, a royal etiquette expert and the founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette, told People. "There is no protocol that says they cannot show affection on official engagements, and this gesture makes them relatable and lovable to the public." Meier continued, "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."
And while Meghan has made a habit of holding onto Harry's elbow or grabbing his hand during their recent royal appearances, the newlyweds do seem to have made a decision to keep their hands to themselves at more formal outings. Basically, if Queen Elizabeth II is in the vicinity, it's a PDA-free zone; but if she's not in attendance, expect to see Meghan and Harry walking arm-in-arm.