Do British Royals Have To Follow PDA Rules?

The British royal family has been putting up with insane rules that royals — even children — must follow for centuries. A laundry list of etiquette rules is part of the price you pay for endless decadence and bejeweled when you are born into, or begin dating a member of, the royal family. Being in love with a royal comes with the usual turmoils of any relationship plus another layer of scrutiny. We all watched with curious minds and wide eyes how Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's relationship led to them leaving the royal family once and for all.

But that begs the question: with all the rules that go along with being royal, are there any etiquette procedures that must be followed when it comes to romantic love? We have scoured what is known about royal public displays of affection and when they are—and are not—allowed. The PDA rules of royals are as follows.

Actually, there are no official PDA rules for royal couples

Royal couples are not barred from public displays of affection, at least not by any formal rules. Etiquette expert Myka Meier told People that the royal family probably doesn't have specific procedures to follow about kissing, hugging, or being cuddly in public. "Senior members of the royal family would likely not be told how to interact or when they can or can not show PDA and would be trusted to use their better judgment as to when it's appropriate," Meier said. In fact, photographers have captured instances of royal PDA from even the most conservative members of the family.

However, that does not mean that royals have constant permission to do as they please no matter the circumstances when they are with their partners. Depending on the seriousness of the event they are at, royals implement some social awareness about whether PDA is appropriate or not. "The royals often adjust PDA to mirror the formality of the event they are attending," Meier explained to People. "At a somber or more formal event, we are less likely to see PDA than at a casual event where it would be deemed more fitting."

What is off-limits for royal PDA?

Those of us familiar with royal society often speculate whether more obvious displays of affection may be looked down on. Royal fans lost their minds when Prince Harry was seen touching Meghan Markle's upper thigh in 2018 while on a tour. But that does not change the fact that — at least as known by the public — the palace does not have official rules about public displays of affection. "The British Royal family has been creating etiquette rules for centuries," Grant Harrold, the former butler to William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, told Time. "The Royals adapt etiquette for what is best at that point in time."

Since the royal family has been creating and adapting PDA etiquette to fit their own needs, it fits that they would follow whatever body language cues that feel right in the moment for them. Couples differ when it comes to public displays of affection, so it is not out of the ordinary for royal brothers Prince William and Prince Harry to differ when it comes to their own habits of holding hands or kissing their wives in public. Basically, nothing is off-limits officially when it comes to royal PDA; it just depends on what the couple is comfortable with and whether the setting seems appropriate for such a display of affection.