The Shocking Differences Between William and Kate Middleton’s Relationship and Harry and Meghan Markle’s Explain Everything

Royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton have had the spotlight on their relationship since before their fairy-tale wedding in 2011. That spotlight has been working overtime since Will’s younger brother, Prince Harry, got engaged to Meghan Markle. With another royal wedding potentially on the horizon, it’s hard not to compare the two couples.

Interestingly enough, the differences between them expand beyond the obvious, (Will and Kate being married with kids, Harry and Meghan being engaged. Stuff like that.) In fact, some of the differences may surprise you.

Holding hands: Will and Kate

When it comes to observing body language, the public continues to be fascinated by the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge don’t hold hands. They do this because of an unwritten rule of decorum set into place by Prince William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. (You will notice that the Queen and her husband Prince Phillip never hold hands either.) It is also believed that Kate and Prince William don’t feel the need to publicly display their affection since they have been together for so long.

Next: Will’s younger brother has a different spin on PDA.

Holding hands: Harry and Meghan

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Invictus Games

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have no problem with holding hands. | Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

The Queen’s younger grandson, Prince Harry, doesn’t appear to be fond of this unofficial rule. When his relationship with Suits star Meghan Markle became more public, the two were seen hand-in-hand on multiple occasions, including Prince Harry’s Invictus Games.

Next: Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

Surviving long distance: Will and Kate

Kate Middleton and Prince William on the day of their graduation ceremony

The couple even split for a bit. | Middleton Family/Clarence House via GettyImages

Distance can put a lot of strain on a relationship. Such was the case for Kate and Prince William when they were dating. The distance between them while William was stationed at Dorset with The Blues and Royals meant he wasn’t returning to London much to see Kate. The lack of togetherness resulted in a brief breakup in 2007. (They, of course, got back together just a few months later.)

Next: Sometimes, distance doesn’t seem to be an obstacle.

Surviving long distance: Harry and Meghan

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Invictus Games

The couple is handling the distance just fine. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Time apart has, at least so far, not been too big of a problem for Prince Harry and his actress girlfriend. Even though there is currently an ocean between them — Meghan currently calls Toronto her home — the two certainly have kept the spark of their romance alive. The distance may not even be an issue for much longer, since Meghan is reportedly preparing to move to the United Kingdom.

Next: You can’t be a modern couple if you play by all the rules.

Breaking rules: Will and Kate

Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their kids at an airport

The family travels together. | Julian Simmonds-Pool/Getty Images

William and Harry are the sons of rule-breaker Diana Princess of Wales, so of course both of them have bent a couple guidelines in their relationships. For Prince William and Kate Middleton, their relationship started in an unconventional way. The two met and courted at school, as opposed to Will marrying someone as a means of benefiting the monarchy. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also the first royal couple to both have college degrees, and Will continues to break protocol when he decides to travel with his wife and children. (Royal rule stipulates that multiple heirs to the thrown shouldn’t travel together in case there is an accident.)

Next: Rule-breaking runs in the family.

Breaking rules: Harry and Meghan

Meghan Markle is wearing a purple shirt and talking at a podium.

The rules are mean’t to be broken. | Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get married, they would be bending a couple royal standards. The question of Meghan’s American citizenship and Catholic faith could cause snags in Harry getting permission to marry her. (Remember, the Queen has to okay the proposal.) There’s also the matter of Meghan being married once before, and there is a precedent set for royals not marrying divorcees.

But even taking all of that into consideration, there at least doesn’t appear to be any indication that Queen Elizabeth won’t okay the union.

Next: All in a day’s work.

Daily obligations: Will and Kate

A post shared by Kate Middleton (@katemiddletonphotos) on

Naturally, the Duke and Duchess have packed schedules. The two are involved in a number of conservation projects and outreach programs, as well as tours to different countries. This is, of course, in addition to what Will and Kate do separately as part of their daily routines. As Duke, Prince William carries out a number of official duties in support of the Queen, while Kate tends to “duchess duties” which includes scheduling events and having meetings with advisers to discuss public and political affairs.

Next: Is Meghan’s routine going to change?

Daily obligations: Harry and Meghan

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry holding hands and walking together.

Their obligations together are currently nonexistent. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Since these two are not married — at least, not yet — they don’t share any duties. Prince Harry concluded his time in the Armed Forces in 2015 and now spends his day-to-day carrying out duties for the Queen, and his girlfriend Meghan is an actress. However, Meghan has been by Harry’s side for a charity event or two. Plus, she plans on starting her own charity ventures after she moves to London. (More on that in just a bit.)

Next: We probably won’t be seeing another rowdy boys’ trip any time soon.

Social lives: Will and Kate

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L), and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

The couple prefer staying at home. | PETER NICHOLLS/AFP/Getty Images

Outside of the occasional “boys’ weekend” or “girls’ night out” Prince William and Kate aren’t big on the party scene. Outside of their formal social obligations, this duo opts for privacy away from prying eyes so they can spend time with their kids. You may recall that Kate was not very happy with her husband in early 2017 when a video emerged of him getting too friendly with a mystery woman while on a boys’ ski trip.

Next: Is Harry moving away from the “party boy” lifestyle?

Social lives: Harry and Meghan

Prince Harry is in a light grey suit.

Prince Harry has a reputation for being a party animal. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince Harry has long had a reputation for being a party animal. Granted, he doesn’t seem to be partaking in as many crazy holiday getaways nowadays, and his main squeeze doesn’t appear to be much of a party-er either.  That being said, Prince Harry is still occasionally seen out hitting the town with one of his many celebrity friends.

Next: This royal couple loves to give back.

Charity work: Will and Kate

Kate Middleton visits hospital

Will and Kate like to get out and get involved. | Paul Edwards-WPA Pool/Getty Images

As previously mentioned, Will and Kate contribute to many charitable causes, including wildlife conservation and community outreach for the less fortunate. Together they are part of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry — an organization created by the brothers as a hub for all of their charity work. (Kate joined the group after she and Prince William were married.)

Next: Meghan and Prince Harry clearly bonded over their philanthropy.

Charity work: Harry and Meghan

Kate Middleton Harry Potter Studios

They may do more charity work together down the line. | Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Naturally, Meghan Markle is not part of the royal coalition of charities. But she is no stranger to the charity scene, having traveled to both Rwanda and India and serving as a United Nations ambassador. In fact, she was honored in March of 2017 for her humanitarian work. It’s being reported that Meghan plans on pursuing other philanthropic ventures after moving to London.

Next: Being a royal isn’t all work and no play.

Extracurricular: Will and Kate

Kate Middleton Marathon relay

The couple likes to get out and have fun. | ALASTAIR GRANT/AFP/Getty Images

Even the Duke and Duchess have to get out and have a good time, right? Kate and Prince William have been photographed over the years engaging in a plethora of activities outside of Will’s royal duties, whether it’s hitting the slopes for a ski weekend or shouting at tennis matches. They are also reportedly big fans of “date night in” when they can cook and catch up on their favorite TV shows. (And like most of the world, they are huge fans of Game of Thrones.)

Next: These two appear to keep things very low key.

Extracurricular: Harry and Meghan

This is a side by side picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Left: Prince Harry Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images Right: Meghan Markle Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

This couple really likes to keep a low profile. In fact, they kept their relationship a secret for so long that not much is known about all of their shared activities. It was revealed however that they kept their plans low key when Prince Harry visited Meghan in Toronto over the summer. (Date night reportedly included home-cooked meals eaten out in Meghan’s garden.)

Next: Will Prince Harry be the next royal to start a family?

Building a family

Prince William and Kate Middleton Helicopter

The couple has been expanding their family. | Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Of course the dynamic is different between these two couples because Prince William and Kate have been busy expanding the royal bloodline and having kids. (The Duchess is currently pregnant with her third child.)

When Harry and Meghan get married, it will be interesting to see how they go about having a family — and how different it may be from William and Kate’s.

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