The Royal couple were previously pictured holding hands at nearly every Royal engagement, with the former actress affectionately holding her husband’s arm and patting his back at Prince Charles’s birthday celebration at Buckingham Palace in May.
However the couple have since been seen avoiding hand-holding and public displays of affection at official engagements, and experts believe it may come down to a question of professionalism.
Commenting on the shift in dynamic, etiquette expert William Hanson told the Mail: “Prince Harry has probably felt less of a need to hold Meghan’s hand as she seems to be much more confident and secure in her new role, and so needs less emotional and physical support from her now-husband.
“Public displays of affection, such a hand holding, may be accepted in private situations and in social spheres, but when out in public Harry and Meghan are on official business and so it is not considered professional behaviour.”
Mika Meier, etiquette expert and founder of Beaumont Etiquette, concurred with Mr Hanson and argued their new dynamic was a sign of the couple’s “professionalism”.
Speaking to PEOPLE, she said: “It is rare to see Royal couples holding hands on official outings.
“A more serious engagement would warrant a more serious level of professionalism, which each Royal is sure to follow.”
Mr Hanson noted there is no official protocol in regards to Royal displays of affection, but stressed it was very rare among other Royal couples.
Meghan Markle was seen holding Prince Harry’s arm at Royal Ascot in June
Commenting on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s reserved body language, he said: “They seem much more reserved with their emotions and affection whereas Harry and Meghan are more tactile.
“It comes down to different styles for different royal couples.”
Ms Meier stressed the couple’s tactile dynamic was welcomed during their “engagement period” as a show of “unity”, but has since shifted as Meghan has become an established member of the Royal Family.
She said: “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.”
Mr Hanson concurred and noted that the seriousness of Royal duties has weighed on the Royal couple.
He said: “I suspect Prince Harry and The Duchess of Sussex realise that now they are married their job and status is what comes first”.
Despite the Royal couple’s increasingly professional dynamic, they were still pictured holding hands at Royal Ascot in June.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have become distinctly less tactile at public engagements