Princes of PDA at the polo! As Harry and Meghan a kiss in Miami,  how the Firm drop their stiff upper lips for smooches during matches

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Written By Maya Cantina

While the royal family are known to keep a stiff upper lip, rarely showing affection to one another in public.

But the strict rules of royals protocol seemed to be relaxed at the polo, where royals let their hair down.  

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the latest royal couple to kiss in front of crowds.

The Duchess of Sussex, 42, planted a kiss on her husband in Miami on Friday, after he won the Royal Salute Polo Challenge.

While the California-branch of the Windsors are decidedly more relaxed than their British counterparts, it seems the polo is certainly a time where protocol is relaxed for over the top displays of affection.

The Duchess of Sussex presents the trophy to her husband, the Duke of Sussex after his team the Royal Salute Sentebale Team

Harry's teammates gamely stood by as the couple enjoyed their smooch

Harry’s teammates gamely stood by as the couple enjoyed their smooch 

Meghan pulled her husband into a warm embrace as he stared down at his prize

Meghan pulled her husband into a warm embrace as he stared down at his prize 

Many royal fans will be reminded of a very awkward kiss between the now King Charles and Princess Diana in 1985, although Harry and Meghan’s display is decidedly less awkward.

Speaking to Femail, body language expert Judi James said: ‘Their kiss is such a historic royal PDA and there are always memories of the fatal rupture in Charles and Diana’s marriage being illustrated by their own polo kisses over the years from shy and giggly to the moment Diana turned her head and a pained-looking Charles was left pressing his lips against her hair.

‘Harry and Meghan’s kiss here is a very mirrored, “book end” style PDA though, with both facing inward and both sets of hands on the cup. 

‘It might be lacking the “get a room” passion of their kiss in 2018 but the love and affection are still obvious as Harry leans in to plant a smiling kiss on his wife’s lips.

‘Both sets of cheeks are rounded and raised here and their lips are pursed to signal a sense of fun and shared good humour. 

‘It’s a very sweet kiss but the pleasure is still obvious on both sides, while Meghan’s towering heels do at least allow her to kiss at the same level here, creating a look of symmetry and equality.

The Sussexes looked very much in love as they marked Harry's triumphant victory

The Sussexes looked very much in love as they marked Harry’s triumphant victory 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the latest royal couple to kiss in front of crowds

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the latest royal couple to kiss in front of crowds

The Prince and Princess of Wales have also showed off their romance at the polo, embracing last year at the Guards Polo Club.

Prince Harry and Meghan also enjoy a PDA. Last May, in an intimate moment that was a far cry from Charles and Diana’s tense public interactions. 

The Duchess of Sussex again planted a kiss on her husband as she presented his team with a trophy at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, near their mansion in Montecito, California .

Meghan, who was dressed in a wide brim hat, polka dot blouse and high-waisted trousers, placed her hands either side of her husband’s face, while he pulled her close with a hand on her back.

The tender clinch, captured on camera for all the world to see, is part of a tradition of polo-playing princes being ‘rewarded’ for their efforts with a post-match kiss.

 

Princess Kate embraced Prince William in a sweet hug kiss at Out-Sourcing Inc. Royal Charity Polo Cup 2023 today

Princess Kate embraced Prince William in a sweet hug kiss at Out-Sourcing Inc. Royal Charity Polo Cup 2023 today

William and Kate also embraced last year at the Guards Polo Club

William and Kate also embraced last year at the Guards Polo Club 

Prince Charles and Diana were captured locking lips on a number of occasions, although their PDA was far chillier than the Sussexes’ romantic moments.

In 1985, just a few months after the birth of Prince Harry, the couple shared an awkward and distant kiss following Charles’ polo victory. 

The breakdown of their marriage was revealed to the world when Diana swerved her head at the moment of kiss in India in 1992, leaving her husband’s painfully pursed lips making contact with the side of her hair.

The couple also looked tense on a number of other occasions, with Diana looking glum as Charles showed off his sporting prowess on the pitch.

It is a world apart from Harry and Meghan who couldn’t keep their hands off each other. 

After giving each of Harry’s teammates a peck on the cheek, she planted a kiss on Harry’s lips while he put a hand on her back to pull her close. 

As a gust of wind threatened to pull her hat from her head, Meghan placed a hand gently on Harry’s arm, before spotting her lipstick smudge and wiping his face. 

A kiss for the crowd! The Duke and Duchess shared a kiss on stage after Los Padres won the memorial cup

A kiss for the crowd! The Duke and Duchess shared a kiss on stage after Los Padres won the memorial cup 

Tense: The affectionate display was a world away from the tense and distant peck Charles and Diana shared following his polo victory in 1985, just four years after their wedding

Tense: The affectionate display was a world away from the tense and distant peck Charles and Diana shared following his polo victory in 1985, just four years after their wedding

Yesterday, the Duchess, 42, was seen presenting her husband with a trophy at the end of the match-up, before the pair puckered up for a kiss in front waiting photographers – while a Netflix camera crew captured every moment of the action for the Duke’s upcoming series about the elitist sport.

Images showed a delightful – but slightly tired-looking – Harry celebrating with his teammates after the dynamic polo match, applauding his opponents before stepping up to accept his prize from his glamorous wife.

The Duke of Sussex was beaming from ear-to-ear as his wife prepared to present him with the award, before the pair posed up with his teammates to celebrate their victory in the match, which saw Harry going head-to-head against his longtime pal Nacho Figueras. 

Meghan, who was joined at the event by her close friend Serena Williams, put on a sensationally stylish display as she and Harry arrived hand-in-hand at a glitzy charity polo match in Palm Beach, Miami, with a camera crew in tow as they prepared to start filming for their next Netflix special.

The Duchess of Sussex, 42, embraced the beaming sunshine in an elegant white dress, which featured a pleated skirt design, halterneck top, and a cut-out at the waist, completing her look with glamorous sunglasses, and a chain-strap shoulder bag.

She dared to risk potential disaster by sporting a pair of towering heels on the grassy terrain, but seemed to suffer no issue as she and Harry made their way across the field, while surrounded by burly security guards.

Distant: Polo-playing princes typically receive a kiss from their beloved as a 'reward' and it's a chance for the public to see some PDA. But Prince Charles and Princess Diana looked serious at a polo match at Windsor in 1983

Distant: Polo-playing princes typically receive a kiss from their beloved as a ‘reward’ and it’s a chance for the public to see some PDA. But Prince Charles and Princess Diana looked serious at a polo match at Windsor in 1983 

On the rocks: The breakdown of their marriage was almost confirmed to the world when Diana swerved her head at the moment of kiss in India in 1992, leaving her husband's painfully pursed lips making contact with the side of her hair, pictured

On the rocks: The breakdown of their marriage was almost confirmed to the world when Diana swerved her head at the moment of kiss in India in 1992, leaving her husband’s painfully pursed lips making contact with the side of her hair, pictured

 

William and Kate looked incredibly loved up today as they kissed

William and Kate looked incredibly loved up today as they kissed

A quiet word: Prince Charles and Princess Diana looked serious at the polo at Smith's Lawn Polo Club in 1985, proving royal PDA at the polo is not a given

A quiet word: Prince Charles and Princess Diana looked serious at the polo at Smith’s Lawn Polo Club in 1985, proving royal PDA at the polo is not a given

Royal kiss: Prince Charles held Diana close as they shared a kiss at the polo in Cirencester in 1985

Royal kiss: Prince Charles held Diana close as they shared a kiss at the polo in Cirencester in 1985 

Loved-up: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no strangers to polo PDA - and shared this amorous kiss at the Berkshire Polo Club in July 2018, just months after their wedding

Loved-up: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no strangers to polo PDA – and shared this amorous kiss at the Berkshire Polo Club in July 2018, just months after their wedding

Meanwhile Harry opted for a pair of cream trousers, a pale grey jacket, and a crisp blue shirt, while donning some slip-on tan shoes – before changing into his team uniform and taking to the field for the match.

The couple were then seen striding out onto the field while surrounded by a crew of cameramen who captured their every move as they chatted with Harry’s teammates.

Harry and Meghan pulled up at the swish venue at around 4:30pm local time, with a film crew in tow shooting their every move.

The cameras continued to roll as they hopped out of their white SUV with Harry’s Argentine polo player pal Nacho and were led to the clubhouse by excited staff as the Duke prepared to go head-to-head in the charity match against the Argentine star.

The dapper Duke appeared moments later on a terrace where he was seen chatting with guests and posing for group photos.

‘He looked the quintessential networker – shaking hands, smiling for photos. He looked in his element,’ one onlooker said.

While Harry took to the field, Meghan was kept company by her former tennis pro pal Serena, who was seen sipping on a glass of champagne as they mingled with their fellow guests and friends.

At one point, Serena and Harry enjoyed a warm hug as the Prince checked in on the action away from the match, embracing like old friends – having grown close in the years since the Duke and Duchess began dating.

It’s an occasion that often offers rare moments of tenderness, playfulness and even PDA between royal couples – but days out at the polo can also result in plenty of awkward situations.

While the British Royal Family mostly keep a stiff upper lip, the matches appear to be a time when they can let their hair down.

But from cringeworthy kisses to Meghan Markle and the Princess of Wales’ tense outing in 2019, the day doesn’t always go to plan.

For instance, in May 2022, the Duchess of Sussex ended up being squashed between Prince Harry and one of his teenage teammates as they struggled to lift the heavy winning trophy over her head for a photo.

Here, FEMAIL takes a look back at the awkward moments experienced by the royals throughout polo matches…

Diana turned away as Charles leant in to kiss her

Diana turned away as Charles leant in to kiss her on the cheek at a prize-giving ceremony following a polo match in Jaipur, India in 1992, pictured

The breakdown of Diana and Charles’ marriage was almost confirmed to the world when the princess swerved her head at the moment of a kiss in India in 1992, leaving her husband’s painfully pursed lips making contact with the side of her hair. 

Princess Diana turned away as Charles, then the Prince of Wales, leaned in to kiss her on the cheek at the prize-giving ceremony following the polo match in Jaipur.

Body language expert Judi James previously said of the kiss: ‘Charles and Diana looked as though they had no relationship or even connection between them in private. 

‘The kiss was clumsy and awkward with no suggestion of a normally-tactile relationship or even chemistry together. There is no synchronicity here. 

‘Diana leans forward but also away from her husband and their clutches look misplaced and lacking in any affection. 

Charles and Diana also shared a tense and distant peck following his polo victory in 1985, just four years after their wedding

Charles and Diana also shared a tense and distant peck following his polo victory in 1985, just four years after their wedding

‘Diana has deflected the kiss by turning her head away. This rejection means Charles is left to plant his kiss on her hair instead of her cheek.

‘His splayed fingers on her back showed a lack of desire for any form of touch and his ugly grimace as he miss-kisses looks miserable.’

Meanwhile, in 1985, just a few months after the birth of Prince Harry, the couple shared an awkward and distant kiss following Charles’ polo victory. 

The couple also looked tense on a number of other occasions, with Diana looking glum as Charles showed off his sporting prowess on the pitch.

Awkward ‘mum’s day out’ between Kate and Meghan

Kate made an awkward joint appearance alongside Meghan to watch William and Harry play in 2019 (pictured)

Kate made an awkward joint appearance alongside Meghan to watch William and Harry play in 2019 (pictured) 

During the appearance, which took place months before Megxit, Kate and Meghan were barely seen interacting - though Prince Louis made the women laugh at one point

During the appearance, which took place months before Megxit, Kate and Meghan were barely seen interacting – though Prince Louis made the women laugh at one point 

Ever the supportive wife, Kate can often be found cheering Prince William on as he takes to the polo field. 

She stepped out to support her husband at a charity match back in 2019, when the royal mother-of-three was joined by Meghan to watch William and Harry play together on a ‘mum’s day out’.

At the time, relations were said to be fraught between the princes’ wives and the appearance is now believed to have been an effort to put on a united front after months of disagreements between the two couples – including a row over bridesmaid dresses and reported tension over Meghan’s behaviour towards staff. 

The Duchess and the Princess put in a surprise appearance to watch Prince William and Prince Harry go head-to-head in the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day, held in honour of late Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha on July 10 2019. 

It marked the first time the Sussexes and the-then Cambridges had been seen together as families since Archie’s birth. 

It was also a rare joint appearance for Meghan and Kate, who were typically only seen together at official engagements attended by the entire royal family, such as Trooping the Colour. 

Going head to head: William, left, and Harry, right, played on opposite teams for the charity polo match in Surrey

Going head to head: William, left, and Harry, right, played on opposite teams for the charity polo match in Surrey

At the time, there had been months of rumours of a rift between the two couples – and according to the authors of Finding Freedom, the stand-offish episode at the charity polo match was a snapshot of Meghan and Kate’s ‘cordial but distant rapport.’

Their relationship had reportedly struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met, according to the explosive biography. 

‘While the doting mothers were photographed next to each other with their children, the two appeared to barely exchange a word,’ the authors penned.

In photographs from the event, Meghan, standing at a distance from Kate and her family, cradled her newborn son and planted a tender kiss on his head.

Meanwhile the Princess spent much of the match keeping her three children, who were racing around the pitch and chasing after a football, entertained.

Despite standing close to each other for part of the match, the women appeared to barely interact. 

In one moment, which appeared to break the ice between the two, the women shared a giggle as then-one-year-old Louis donned his mother’s sunglasses before turning back to his aunt to cheekily stick out his tongue.

Duchess of Sussex stuck in the middle

Stuck in the middle: Meghan Markle was on hand to present Prince Harry and his team with a trophy after they won an event at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. But the moment had not been rehearsed and Meghan ended up being squashed between Harry and one of his teenage teammates as they struggled to lift the heavy cup over her head

Stuck in the middle: Meghan Markle was on hand to present Prince Harry and his team with a trophy after they won an event at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. But the moment had not been rehearsed and Meghan ended up being squashed between Harry and one of his teenage teammates as they struggled to lift the heavy cup over her head

Ready for the camera! After a few seconds in the shadows at the back of the stage, Meghan stepped to the front of the stage for her moment in the spotlight (pictured)

Ready for the camera! After a few seconds in the shadows at the back of the stage, Meghan stepped to the front of the stage for her moment in the spotlight (pictured)

The Duchess of Sussex was caught in an awkward moment as she joined Prince Harry on stage at a polo event in May 2022.

Meghan Markle was on hand to present Prince Harry and his team, Los Padres, with a trophy after they won an event at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.

But the prize-giving had clearly not been rehearsed and Meghan ended up being squashed between Harry and one of his teenage teammates as they struggled to lift the heavy cup over her head for a photo. 

After a few seconds in the shadows at the back of the stage, Meghan stepped to the front of the stage for her moment in the spotlight.  

Footage of the encounter was shared online by a social media user who noted it looked like they ‘didn’t know where to put her’ and then ended up ‘blocking her with the trophy’.

Harry’s team, which is captained by his friend Nacho Figueras, dubbed the ‘David Beckham of polo’, took home the Lisle Nixon Memorial trophy at the star-studded event, which was open to the public and attracted stars including Rebel Wilson and Meghan’s actress BFF Abigail Spencer.  

Meghan, who wore a black wide brim hat, polka dot blouse and £670 high-rise pleated shorts, was on hand to present the prize and pecked each team member on the cheek – before planting a kiss on her husband’s mouth. 

Realising some of her lipstick had rubbed off, she took her finger and gave Harry’s lips a wipe in an intimate moment watched by the crowd of spectators. 

As seen in the clip, Meghan then maneuvered herself to the middle of the stage, ready for the trophy photo. 

Harry appeared to be telling his younger teammates, who are both 16, how the moment should unfold when captain Nacho Figueras, a longtime friend of the Sussexes, reached in and lifted the trophy above his head and passed it to Harry.

The prince then told his young teammates to ‘hold it’. 

But the commotion meant Meghan was pushed to the back of the stage. The mother-of-two clapped in the shadows before stepping forward again into the spotlight, pushing underneath Prince Harry’s arms. 

William’s VERY awkward pecks on the cheek for Kate 

Formal: While the Princess of Wales, 41, frequently offers a 'love pat' to William when they're out at official engagements, the Prince struggled to look quite so at ease with PDAs at the polo in Windsor in July - resulting in an awkward clinch

Formal: While the Princess of Wales, 41, frequently offers a ‘love pat’ to William when they’re out at official engagements, the Prince struggled to look quite so at ease with PDAs at the polo in Windsor in July – resulting in an awkward clinch

As the polo crowd looked on, William appeared to go for a controlled air kiss, rather than a public smooch

William plants a kiss on his wife's right cheek

As the polo crowd looked on, William appeared to go for a controlled air kiss, rather than a public smooch…right: William plants a kiss on his wife’s right cheek

Judging by an awkward kiss at the polo in July 2023, it seems Prince William isn’t quite so comfortable with overt PDAs as his wife the Princess of Wales, says a leading body language expert.  

Kate, 41, watched the Prince of Wales, also 41, play in the Out-Sourcing Inc. Royal Charity Polo Cup 2023 at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor – and the couple partook in a rather formal embrace after the match had finished. 

As the Princess of Wales strolled over to congratulate her husband on his performance, with others looking on, he offered the kind of greeting you might give a business acquaintance – an awkward peck on both cheeks.     

The Prince clutched his wife firmly on both shoulders and planted the robust kisses on each cheek. 

Body language expert Judi James told MailOnline: ‘Kate looks so much more comfortable greeting her husband with an air kiss here but, despite approaching the ritual looking emotionally needy, hunching his shoulders, leaning forward and performing an embrace announcement gesture to register his delight, he keeps things more formal once he docks in.’

James said that while it’s clear ‘the couple are increasingly less reserved about their PDAs recently, this moment shows William can still be rather self-conscious about them.’

And it may be that gender roles are at play, says the expert. 

‘There are three quite practical reasons for his reservations here, firstly the air kiss is a difficult ritual that often mystifies men, then there is the macho spirit of polo, where PDAs with wives are less common, and lastly he must be sadly aware of his father’s iconic but telling miss-kisses with his mother at similar events, putting pressure on him to get it right.’ 

Kate had offered a supportive pat on William’s lower back earlier in the day, something she’s been seen performing a number of times in the past few months. She playfully tapped him on the behind during their day at the Royal Ascot, and sent royal fans wild when she performed the same gesture on the red carpet at the BAFTAs in February. 

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