Words by Sarah Carty.
They hugged their way through Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand, but now a palace aide has claimed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s affectionate ways with the public while on royal tour have reportedly caused a headache for Buckingham Palace officials.
The 37-year-old Duchess and 34-year-old Duke of Sussex last week completed the 16-day tour, ending their trip in the Rotorua area of New Zealand, with a public walkabout which concluded with Meghan Markle giving an adorable young girl a big embrace.
And while we all might have swooned at the cute photos, Buckingham Palace are in a tizzy over the royal couple’s attitude to the public and how many times they broke away from royal traditions.
A palace security adviser reportedly told The Express that most members of the public were well meaning, but added: “In the street, these people are, at best, completely unchecked and, at worst, potential cat stranglers and virtual stalkers who are well known to their police protection officers.
“If you let one person kiss you on the cheek, why not another?
“The worry is this behaviour raises the bar for every other member of the family who will be expected to do the same.
“But when they don’t, it creates resentment and a feeling that they have somehow let people down.”
Indeed, Prince Harry and his new wife showed no hesitation when it came to embracing members of the public at any of the locations they visited over the 16 days.
Traditionally, members of the royal family usually only waved at the public when they did public walkabouts.
“We never shook hands,” Princess Anne recently said in the Queen of the World documentary.
“The theory was that you couldn’t shake hands with everybody, so don’t start, so I kind of stick with that, but I notice others don’t.
“And it seems to me that it’s become a shaking hands exercise rather than a walkabout.”
Obviously, Harry and Meghan aren’t as fastidious, and they shook hands with as many locals as they possibly could on their tour, but they also went one step further and showed their love with hugs.
And in one of the sweetest moments of their visit, the Duke even let one five-year-old child rub his beard.
Meanwhile, Meghan ran into a security risk when she visited a marketplace in Suva, forcing palace aides to cut the engagement short and whisk the Duchess out of there.
She was supposed to spend about 20 minutes mingling with the locals, however, her visit ended abruptly after six minutes, with Meghan escorted out of the building by officials.
According to numerous reports, Kensington Palace came to the conclusion that the crowds were too big and decided to pull the plug early on the scheduled appearance.
Meghan’s protection officer could be seen in the photos putting her hands out in front of the pregnant royal and trying to keep people back.
However, that didn’t stop the royal couple from going on to hug members of the public in Tonga and New Zealand.