We’ve all learnt by now that Meghan Markle isn’t like a regular Duchess, she’s a cool Duchess, who takes limited notice of what she is or isn’t officially supposed to do. Of course, she’s always on her best behavior and is always an elegant, sophisticated, and demure figure in the royal family—but if she wants to hug somebody, then she’s just going to go ahead and do it. She’s a hugger, okay? Some people just are.
During their visit to their namesake British county on Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent time chatting and joking with royal family fans who’d come out in their thousands to catch a glimpse of the couple. One of the most memorable moments from the appearance came when Megan was pulled into a huge, heartfelt hug by one well-wisher, who looked seriously overjoyed to be able to meet her. It’s such a genuine and sweet moment that was captured on camera, as Meghan seemed to have absolutely no problem with going onto her tiptoes to share a touching embrace across the barriers.
It’s by no means the first time that Meghan has gone in for the full-on hug approach with people during her royal appearances, but she’s not the only Duchess who’s more than happy to put a sentimental greeting ahead of the ol' royal protocol. Kate Middleton is also a big fan of the hug—although hers are usually only reserved for when she’s meeting children.
The Duchess of Cambridge went straight in with the hugs, even on her first day back at work from maternity leave earlier this week, as she happily wrapped her arms around some of the children at Sayers Croft Forest School during her visit.
But, is it technically breaking royal protocol after all? During HBO’s recent royal family documentary, Queen of the World, it was explained that the royal family wasn't originally allowed to even greet the crowds. Apparently the Queen didn’t start saying hello to the crowds until the 1970s, and thus began the current style of “walkabout." The royals aren't even technically supposed to shake hands with the public, but Princess Anne said it has now become a total “shaking hands exercise.” Others say that, while hugging members of the royal family isn’t banned, per se, it’s definitely not typical behavior.
Having said that, both Prince Harry and Princess Diana are also well-known fans of the humble hug, so hey. Who needs royal protocol when there’s moments like this to be made?