Royal fans are defending Prince Harry and Meghan Markle against criticism for their recent public display of affection as they mourned the Queen by pointing out that Zara Tindall and her husband also held hands as they left Westminster Hall service.
On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined other members of the Royal Family during a short service in honor of the late Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Hall. The Duchess proved her especially by bowing, and the Duke openly expressed his grief over the death of his grandmother.
When Harry and Meghan left the service behind the Duke’s brother Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, they chose to hold hands in a show of support and affection that has since caused mixed reactions.
While some praised Harry and Meghan for the gesture, many others criticized the Duke and Duchess for holding hands as “inappropriate” for the occasion.
‘Meghan Markle holds Harry’s hand in church! Clueless and classless,” one person claimed, while another critic said: “As the family formally moves away from the Queen’s coffin, Meghan holds Harry’s hand! How totally inappropriate! She has no idea how to behave in an official state affair and her behavior is rude to the Queen and the Royal Family.”
Since then, there has been an outpouring of support from people who have come to defend the pair. Many have pointed to the double standards in the Resistance, as the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall and her husband Mike Tindall also held hands as they left Westminster Hall.
Others noted that Princess Beatrice held her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi’s hand at her grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral in 2021.
“People who complain about Meghan and Harry say nothing about Mike and Zara Tindall holding hands,” one person tweeted, while another admitted there was no “beep of criticism” aimed at Zara and her husband, before remarking: ” The abuse and double standards imposed on Meghan is outrageous.”
The hypocrisy of the criticism also led many to suggest that the opposition to Meghan was racially motivated.
“It seems strange that people were only criticizing Harry and Meghan for holding hands, not Mike and Zara Tindall. That tends to give away the game that people are racists,” one person tweeted.
Another said: “It was funny to watch the crowd say ‘I’m not racist but…’ #DuchessofSussex for comforting her husband at the END of today’s event, but twist to excuse Zara Tindall and her husband as they hold hands.”
“BREAKING: Conservatives are absolutely furious because Harry was holding his wife Meghan’s hand, but they are not angry that Mike was holding Zara’s hand and no one understands why,” someone else tweeted sarcastically.
This isn’t the first time Harry and Meghan have held hands while paying their respects to the Queen. The pair also showed themselves in public when they reunited with the Prince and Princess of Wales at Windsor Castle earlier this week to greet the benefactors.
Although royal protocol does not prohibit members of the royal family from participating in PDA, according to Myka Meier, royal etiquette expert and founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette, who previously told People “There is no real etiquette or royal protocol that says the couple should abstain from PDA,” the royal family rarely does.
According to Meier, the decision comes down to a matter of preference, as well as the “nature of the event they are attending”. However, body language expert Robin Kermode previously told the Daily mail that the Queen, who rarely held Prince Philip’s hand in public, has set a precedent.