Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s ‘striking’ hand holding questioned: Did they break the rules?

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s public display of affection following a short service honoring Queen Elizabeth II Wednesday drew mixed reactions.

Prince Harry and his wife held hands as they left Westminster Hall. The other royal couples involved in the procession walked with their arms at their sides.

Royal expert Shannon Felton Spence told Fox News Digital the action was most likely a “loving show of support” for Prince Harry, but emphasized that the royal family was “on the job.”

“While there are no formal ‘rules’ against PDA, we don’t often see it from the royals because usually when we see them they are on the job,” Spence explained. “They are presenting their most professional appearance. When we see William and Catherine out, they are husband and wife colleagues.”

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From left, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William and Kate Middleton are photographed after the procession of Queen Elizabeth II’s casket. Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state starting Wednesday until her funeral on Monday.
(Getty Images)

Spence noted that public displays of affection are seen by members of the royal family, including Prince William and Kate Middleton, but they normally occur at less formal events.

“It does happen, but usually always setting appropriate or a less formal event (like if they are playing a sport),” she added. “That’s why it’s so striking that Harry and Meghan have always been so overtly affectionate with each other.

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“It’s not that it’s unusual for a husband and wife, it’s that we’re just not used to seeing it from the royals while they are on the job.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William have been seen holding hands in public a handful of times.

Prince William and Kate Middleton hold hands at the start of the 2011 Calgary Stampede Parade in Calgary, Alberta.

Prince William and Kate Middleton hold hands at the start of the 2011 Calgary Stampede Parade in Calgary, Alberta.
(Getty Images)

Kate Middleton and Prince William hold hands as they watch swimming at Tollcross Swimming Center during the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 28, 2014.

Kate Middleton and Prince William hold hands as they watch swimming at Tollcross Swimming Center during the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 28, 2014.
(Getty Images)

Prince William carries his newly-born daughter, his second child, in a car seat as he walks with Kate from the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital in central London on May 2, 2015.

Prince William carries his newly-born daughter, his second child, in a car seat as he walks with Kate from the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in central London on May 2, 2015.
(Getty Pictures)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s hand-holding Wednesday received mixed reactions on social media. Some called Markle “supportive,” while others labeled her as having “no class.”

“Meghan Markle is such a supportive wife to Prince Harry. The best of the British royal family,” one user wrote.

“Keep holding hands Harry and Meghan. It amuses me to see people bothered by it. Lol,” another added.

“I see Meghan still couldn’t manage the whole service without holding on to Harry, had to hold his hand on the way out absolutely no class,” one user wrote.

“What a shame. Meghan and Harry just had to draw attention to themselves by holding hands,” another added. “Totally inappropriate but what else can you expect?”

Other social media users pointed out that Markle and Prince Harry weren’t the only royal couple to hold hands during Wednesday’s events.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry hold hands as they leave following a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II's casket at Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster in London on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry hold hands as they leave following a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II’s casket at Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster in London on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.
(Getty Images)

Zara Tindall and husband Mike Tindall walk in the procession with the casket of Britain's Queen Elizabeth.  Zara is the daughter of Princess Anne.

Zara Tindall and husband Mike Tindall walk in the procession with the casket of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. Zara is the daughter of Princess Anne.
(Getty Pictures)

Zara Tindall, daughter of Princess Anne, and her husband Mike Tindall held hands when arriving at Westminster Hall. However, it is important to note that the two do not hold royal titles.

Spence, a royal expert, told Fox News Digital that the hand-holding between Harry and Meghan was understandable.

“I’ll give them a pass for today when they were walking out of Westminster Hall because that procession had to be very traumatizing for Harry, and they are all grieving,” she said.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 2018 public kiss, right, was compared to a photographed moment between Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana in 1985.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s 2018 public kiss, right, was compared to a photographed moment between Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana in 1985.
(Getty Pictures)

Prince Harry has a history of being publicly affectionate with Markle. Before he married the Duchess of Sussex, the prince kissed her on the cheek at the closing of the Invictus Games in 2017. The move landed the two in media headlines at the time.

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They’ve shared a lip lock or two since then at a handful of events, including a polo match in 2018. That kiss was compared to Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s photographed kiss at a polo match in 1985.

Fox News’ Ashley Papa contributed to this report.

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