Here's Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Aren't Afraid to Hold Hands in Public
It strongly speaks to their relationship.
As soon as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle went public with their romance last year, it was clear that they were not afraid to show PDA. And those displays of affection have continued since Meghan became an official royal two months ago.
"They are not afraid to hold hands. They don't mind showing their emotions," veteran royal photographer, Mark Stewart, tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story.
Harry and Meghan memorably walked hand-in-hand at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September 2017 (their first public event!). The moment was a big deal to royal fans as members of the royal family (like Harry's brother Prince William and Kate Middleton) rarely show PDA-especially at official outings.
Those moments of intimacy have been on display at almost every event they've attended together (aside from their appearance alongside the Queen!).
"Meghan is used to being touchy-feely, and Harry is the same," former palace spokesman, Dickie Arbiter, tells PEOPLE. "Harry has always been tactile."
Meghan held onto Harry's arm as she attended a Royal Air Force event alongside Harry, William and Kate on July 10. And in an unexpected move, she even looped her hand through Harry's arm for Prince Louis' official christening portrait last week.
"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," royal etiquette expert Myka Meier, founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette, told PEOPLE. "There is no protocol that says they can not show affection on official engagements, and this gesture makes them relatable and lovable to the public."
"Meghan and Prince Harry holding hands at a royal engagement is a refreshingly modern approach to their new role both as a couple and as representatives of the royal family."