Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are rewriting the handbook when it comes to public displays of affection by members of the royal family.
But while it might be easy to credit the couple’s tactile approach as being down to Meghan’s influence, the affection shown by Harry has a lot do with how the Prince was raised.
During their visit to Melbourne last week, video of Harry holding hands with Meghan went viral on social media.
The video, posted by Melbourne radio station FoxFM, shows Harry using his other free hand to hold Meghan’s hand behind his back.
Instagram account @amandalynnbutler pointed out Harry’s double hand holding trick was one his mother Diana Spencer used to do with him as a child.
According to a friend of the late Princess of Wales, Richard Kay, Diana showed more affection towards Harry as a child as “compensation” for how Prince William was favored by other relatives.
“She adored them both but William, destined to be king, was marked from birth for special attention,” Mr. Kay wrote in the Daily Mail.
‘“I have to,’ she would often tell me. ‘Charles and I worked so hard to ensure both boys receive equal amounts of our time and love; others in the family seem to concentrate on William.”’
According to Mr. Kay, Harry would complain that William was “made a fuss over” when visiting their great-grandmother, the late Queen Mother.
When Diana confronted her over it, the Queen Mother is reported to have argued back that “William was heir to the throne and should be groomed as such.”
Harry’s affectionate behavior towards Meghan is in contrast to his older brother William, who rarely engages in PDA with his wife Kate Middleton.
As heir to the throne, it’s likely William feels more pressure to follow the example set by Queen Elizabeth, who never holds hands in public with Prince Philip.
However, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have slowly begun to show more affection in public and caused a near internet meltdown with their hand holding at Princess Eugenie’s wedding.
Body language expert Judi James predicts the couple’s more tactile approach in public has probably been prompted by Meghan and Harry’s displays.
“It could be a signal of delighted parenthood,” she told The Express. “But it might also have been prompted by the very tactile displays from Harry and Meghan.”