The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first mammoth tour as a married couple has finally ended. Four countries, 76 engagements, over 30 outfits worn and 3,562 public displays of affection.
Aside from ‘label-gate’, where Meghan was spotted with a label hanging from her dress, or the big baby announcement, what stands out the most from the couple’s Southern Hemispheric sojourn is their continual, incessant touching, hand-holding and hugs.
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PDA! During the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first mammoth tour as a married couple there was always a grip of his palm, an arm round her shoulder, a hand in his lap (Pictured: Meghan and Harry on Bondi Beach on October 19th)
What stands out the most from the couple’s southern hemispheric sojourn is their continual, incessant touching, hand holding and hugs, says Hanson (Pictured: Meghan and Harry at Dubbo City Regional Airport, Australia, on October 17th)
The etiquette expert says Meghan and Harry need to start towing the party line as emotion in the British royal family is rarely shown unless it’s to ‘a dog or a horse’. (Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex watching aboriginal dances at Victoria Park in Dubbo, Australia, on October 17th)
We get it, Harry and Meghan. You are in love. Gallant Harry is showing support for royal ingénue Meghan (although I think Meghan does more supporting of Prince Harry, frankly).
The May wedding was really special. We all loved it. We’re thrilled for you both. We tuned in and watched: we were there. No one is denying you aren’t in love.
But let’s start towing the party line, shall we? This is the British royal family. Emotion is rarely shown unless it’s to a dog or a horse. Go and move to Spain if you want to start being over-emotional.
William Hanson, pictured, says he hopes that once Meghan actually became royalty on May 19th the hand-holding would stop
Before the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex wed there was a fair bit of hand-holding on their joint engagements. I didn’t like it but hoped that once Meghan went from commoner to royalty on May 19 that it would stop. (Like when Catherine Middleton’s wave changed from manic to majestic within the space of an hour back in April 2011.)
For a few weeks, it seemed the magic of monarchy had taken hold. But then just to spite those of us who want our royal family to actually be serene and not ‘the Prince and Princess next door’, the hand-holding returned. With a vengeance.
With this latest royal tour was there any daytime engagement where the couple didn’t hold hands?
There is an argument too, royal or not, that couples who feel the need to show off their love in front of others and in public are perhaps the least secure in their relationships. But we’ll park that one there for now.
There is no ‘protocol rule’ that says royalty cannot touch: just precedent and common sense.
Do not forget that royal engagements are professional environments. It’s work. If Harry and Meghan were not who they are and worked for any other ‘firm’, they would not be allowed to walk down the corridors holding hands, cooing over each other.
Royal engagements are professional environments – no other firm would allow a couple to walk down the corridor holding hands and cooing over each other. (Pictured: Harry and Meghan boarding their flight to New Zealand on October 28th)
There is no ‘protocol rule’ that says royalty cannot touch: just precedent and common sense. (Pictured: The Duke and Duchess at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand on October 30th)
I have no issues if they want to hold hands when they are in private, attending social events. Go for it, folks, just not when you are working.
But while the ‘hottest royal couple’ parade around the south pacific their brother and in-law, William and Catherine, grow ever more royal. Although mainly thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge.
Catherine and Meghan are both huge assets to the monarchy, in different ways, but thank heavens we have Catherine as the counterweight.
The Duchess of Cambridge is more royal than the actual blood-royals. On most occasions, she strikes the tone between being friendly yet formal beautifully.
But a word of warning to all the millennial members of the monarchy: and this includes you Catherine – I saw that hug at the tennis centre earlier this week.
Cut the hugs. I know that for some a grope from the Duchess of Copafeel or a squeeze from the Countess of Cuddles will be a higher honour than being appointed into the Order of the Garter, but, like with the hand holding, it jars.
I have no issues if they want to hold hands when they are in private, attending social events. Go for it, folks, just not when you are working. (Pictured: Prince Harry and Meghan Mrkle at the Abel Tasman National Park in Wellington, New Zealand, on October 29th)
We don’t fund them to be like us. If they are just like any other family, then what’s the need to subsidise them? Why not give us the funding then, instead? (Pictured: Royal couple on Melbourne South Beach in Australia on October 18th)
For me, royalty should be royal. They are not supposed to be like ‘one of us’. They must all be nice people, yes (and they are), but it seems that it’s now all a bit too chummy and informal.
I want gilt. I want ermine. I want pomp.
Isn’t it also a bit patronising to the rest of us to think that unless they show buckets of false, hollow affection and schmooze the crowds that the throngs won’t cheer and love them?
We all know that royal funding is not the most secure fiscal fixture at the best of times. The more that the royal family behave like your average Joe, the weaker the argument is to give them that funding.
The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured during a visit to Coach Core Essex, is more royal than the actual blood-royals. On most occasions, she strikes the tone between being friendly yet formal beautifully
But a word of warning to all the millennial members of the monarchy: and this includes you Catherine – I saw that hug at the tennis centre earlier this week. Cut the hugs – it jars
We don’t fund them to be like us. If they are just like any other family, then what’s the need to subsidise them? Why not give us the funding then, instead? It’ll play right into the Republic campaign’s under-moisturised hands.
We avoid touching them not because they are better than us as people, but because of the ancient office and dynastic institution they represent.
Maybe I am too much of a stick in the mud? Perhaps.
The odd hand-holding here or there may be cute but, like those who over-swear, the more they do it the more diluted and expected it becomes. It must not become a default.
William Hanson co-hosts the weekly podcast Help I Sexted My Boss, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Acast.