Monday 22 January 2018

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are already doing things very differently to Kate Middleton and Prince William

Britain's Prince Harry (R) sits with girlfriend actress Meghan Markle to watch a wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Britain's Prince Harry (R) sits with girlfriend actress Meghan Markle to watch a wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watch Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Britain's Prince Harry (R) arrives with girlfriend actress Meghan Markle to watch a wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Britain's Prince Harry and his girlfriend actress Meghan Markle watch the wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watch Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are doing things their own way.

The British royal (32) and American actress (36) have been dating for more than a year, but we only got our first glimpse of their relationship on Monday, when they arrived hand in hand to see wheelchair tennis at the Invictus Games. And with that one move, they have already broken royal protocol.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada

While Prince William and wife of six years Kate Middleton have a famously happy marriage, they never engage in public displays of affection for a surprisingly simple reason - it's against royal decorum. They are permitted to hold hands, kiss or hug, but never do as a personal choice.

Royal etiquette expert Myka Meier told PEOPLE the reason to avoid public displays of affection is simply their need to act professional.

"There is no actual etiquette or royal protocol that says the couple must refrain from PDA," she explained to the mag. "The likely reasoning is more that while traveling on a tour such as the India trip, technically the couple are working representatives of British Monarchy. The couple are likely to show very little PDA, if any, to remain professional during their designated roles abroad."

Unlike his older brother, who has the weight of the crown on his shoulders, Harry is about to be sixth in line to the throne and doesn't have to stick to the same pressures as the next King of England does.

Britain's Prince Harry (R) arrives with girlfriend actress Meghan Markle to watch a wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Britain's Prince Harry (R) arrives with girlfriend actress Meghan Markle to watch a wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

.Even his relationship with Markle, a (gasp!) American divorcée, shows how far the British royal family has come in the last century - the fact that a royal no longer has to give up his title, a la Prince Edward abdicating the throne to marry Wallis Simpson in 1936.

Their arrival summed up the modernisation of the monarchy: the Suits star, originally from California, beamed in a crisp white blouse by Misha Nonoo, ankle grazer jeans by Mother, tortoise shell sunglasses by Finlay & Co and flats by Sarah Flint. It's hard to picture her in an pleated skirt by Alexander McQueen and Jane Taylor fascinator, like her potential sister-in-law, which is part of what makes her even more interesting.

Earlier this month, the popular actress said life in the royal fishbowl comes with its "challenges", but she adjusting to the newfound fame with the support of her other half.

"It has its challenges, and it comes in waves - some days it can feel more challenging than others," she told Vanity Fair.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle applaud as they watch Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle applaud as they watch Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

"And right out of the gate it was surprising the way things changed. But I still have this support system all around me, and, of course, my boyfriend's support."

She added: "We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us.

"It's part of what makes it so special, that it's just ours. But we're happy. Personally, I love a great love story."

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