Why Prince Harry refused to hold Meghan Markle's hand in front of the Queen

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are known for their affection towards each other - paparazzi captured them cuddling while dating, they held hands throughout their engagement interview - and of course, there was that famous kiss on the stairs just after they were married.

So why did cameras catch Harry reluctantly pull his hand away when Meghan reached for it during the Queen's Young Leaders Reception at Buckingham Palace last week?

Myka Meier, an expert in royal etiquette, revealed the reason in an interview with People magazine.

"It is rare to see royal couples holding hands on official outings," Meier said.

While there's apparently no hard and fast rule on hand-holding for royal couples, each pair is expected to behave according to the nature of the event and the company present.

"A more serious engagement would warrant a more serious level of professionalism, which each royal is sure to follow."

In general, public displays of affection in front of the Queen are "atypical".

As for why it hasn't been an issue until now, Meier explains, "it is a seemingly welcomed gesture to show unity and celebration during their engagement period."

Meghan and Harry were back to their affectionate selves, albeit briefly, at their latest appearance. They held hands as they arrived at the 'Your Commonwealth' Youth Challenge event.

Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter told Bazaar the informal atmosphere of the event - outside of the palace and without the Queen - likely allowed for a more relaxed approach.