Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did not break protocol by holding hands at Queen Elizabeth II’s procession on Wednesday – because they are not working members of the royal family.
“Harry and Meghan are grieving relatives and are under no obligation to follow royal protocol,” body language expert Inbaal Honigman told the British newspaper The Daily Express.
“Their hands are there to support each other emotionally during this loss.”
Harry, 37, and Markle, 41, gave up their royal duties as Duke and Duchess of Sussex in January 2020 due to lingering issues such as media scrutiny and inner turmoil within the family.
That doesn’t stop the public from analyzing the couple’s every move during high-profile events, though.
Since Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8, Markle has been called out for everything from an “awkward” exchange with royal aides over flowers to most recently showing PDA during Wednesday’s procession.
“They are part of the procession”, a critic tweeted. “Is it too much to expect them to walk in their line? even the horse was able to walk in his position for 20+ minutes. anyway meghan [and] Harry couldn’t hold the formation until they reached the door?’
Another claimed the “Suits” alum was “out of class”, writing: “I see Meghan still couldn’t handle the whole shift without holding Harry.”
Honigman further explained to The Daily Express why Prince William, who is next in line to the throne, and his wife, Kate Middleton, followed protocol.
“William is there in a public capacity,” the expert said. “He may have just lost his grandmother, but his job, as the king’s eldest son, is more important than his grief right now.”
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Honigman pointed out that King Charles III and the Queen Consort also did not walk hand in hand as they walked into Westminster Hall, as they are also “working members.”
King Charles III was appointed head of the monarchy on Saturday after the death of his mother and said in his first official speech: “I am very aware of this great legacy and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty now upon me. transferred.”