Royal Couples
Prince William, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry changed the way royals interact with each other and their fans in public. Pictured: Royal couples leave after attending Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. Getty Images/Stephen Pond

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle contributed a lot to transform the royal family in 2018.

Tom Nellist, a journalist for Express, said that the Fab Four’s generation set a new standard last year that future generations are expected to follow. Prince Harry and Markle, for instance, were dubbed as rebellious for breaking an alleged royal protocol on PDA that doesn’t really exist. But the couple’s down-to-earth behavior is likely to shape the way royals behave in public in the future.

Prince William and Middleton also broke royal protocol sometime in April when they arrived at an Easter church service after Queen Elizabeth II.

Royal protocol dictates that the Queen will arrive last to events because she is considered the highest-ranking monarch. But the motorway roadworks on the M4 forced the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to arrive at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle much later than expected.

Months later, the parents of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis broke another protocol when they attended Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s nuptials. They were photographed holding hands while waiting for the other guests to arrive.

Even though there is no strict protocol when it comes to public displays of affection by the members of the royal family, Myka Meier, a royal etiquette expert, said that PDA should be adjusted depending on the occasion. More formal events warrant less PDA.

Middleton was also photographed in a rare public display of affection when she touched Prince William’s thigh during Princess Eugenie and Brooksbank’s wedding.

And throughout 2018, Prince Harry and Markle were photographed hugging royal fans and members of the public. Royal historian Kate Williams told BBC that touching royals was not allowed many years ago because they were believed to have been appointed by God and should be treated as such.

The sudden changes in the Fab Four’s behavior in public are being linked to the Markle Effect. The “Suits” alum changed the way royals interact with each other and her affection towards Prince Harry may have encouraged Prince William and Middleton to do the same.