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Body language expert reveals what Harry and Meghan’s gestures actually mean

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Body language expert reveals what Harry and Meghan’s gestures actually mean

Prince Harry appeared chastened as he drew on wife Meghan Markle during the couple’s first official public engagement in the UK for two years, a body language expert has said.

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The Duke of Sussex, 37, looked ‘grim faced and haunted’ as he took his place at St Paul’s Cathedral today for the Thanksgiving service on the second day of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Prince Harry showed signs of ‘culture shock’ after going from the ‘prince of Netflix’ to someone given a less prominent role among the 2,000 guests at the ceremony, according to Judi James.

Meghan, 40, showed fewer signs of stress although her ‘pitch-perfect’ persona began to appear ‘fixed’ towards the end of the service, she said.

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Prince Charles and Camilla and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also at the ceremony, which the Queen did not attend after experiencing ‘discomfort’ on the opening day of the national celebrations to mark her unprecedented 70 years on the throne.

Judi said: ‘It was a very low-key, subdued Harry on show today for his first public appearance under the same roof as his brother since Prince Philip’s service, when they put on a last minute display of something that was supposed to pass for togetherness and re-uniting.

‘The culture shock for the prince of Netflix, a man of celebrity stature and A-list status in the US, to sit way down the pecking order and under apparent instructions to keep a low profile in the UK must have felt seismic and he arrived displaying several signals of anxiety before sitting in his pew behind Sophie and Edward looking grim-faced and haunted.

Body language expert reveals what Harry and Meghan’s gestures actually mean

Body language expert reveals what Harry and Meghan’s gestures actually mean

‘Getting out of his car Harry performed several self-touch, checking gestures that suggested building tension. His famous grin was non-existent and he kept his head down in a gesture of humility.

‘Meghan was pitch-perfect, looking confident but without appearing attention-seeking although her warm, calm smile was beginning to look a little fixed and bulletproof by the end of the service.’

Harry and Meghan held hands as they made their way up the steps while the 16-ton bell, Great Paul, rang out.

They were greeted with cheers from the crowd on their first engagement since leaving The Firm in March 2020, which they attended without their children Archie, three, and Lilibet, who turns one on Saturday.

The couple appeared less at ease during the ceremony as they faced the cameras having stayed out of the spotlight for yesterday’s pageantry, which included working royals appearing on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Body language expert reveals what Harry and Meghan’s gestures actually mean

Body language expert reveals what Harry and Meghan’s gestures actually mean

The couple sat behind the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who were in the front row with their children, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

‘It appeared to be Harry taking his strength from Meghan here,’ Judi said. ‘They clasped hands on the way in and the way out but there were no other public displays of affection.

‘Whenever she spoke he dipped his head to pay her maximum attention, even though there was no trace of a smile as a result.

‘He seemed to be in role as the invisible royal at this event, with no signs of any attempt at fake bonding with his brother or his father.’

The Sussexes left separately to Prince William and Kate, again holding hands. They chatted to Zara Tindall and her husband Mike and shook hands with the Lord Mayor of London before leaving in a car.

Turning to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Judi said: ‘William and Kate looked super-regal, relaxed and chatty on the way in but there were some small signs of building tension from William during the service.

‘At one point he sat leaning forward in an uncharacteristic pose and there was a muscle working in his cheek to suggest that growing tension.

‘As he walked past his brother in the exit procession he sucked his lips in and turned his head in the opposite direction, even raising his order of service up high in what looked like a barrier gesture.’

Body language expert reveals what Harry and Meghan’s gestures actually mean

However, there were some signs of a more natural Prince Harry – who was known for his sense of humour in his earlier years – that were caught by the analyst away from the live coverage.

She said: ‘Harry’s apparent anxiety did appear to cause some eruptions of his more “fun” side as he leaned across to laugh open-mouthed with what looks from the angle to have been Zara and Mike and later outside when he was also seen smiling with the couple.

‘These moments were in total contrast to his subdued demeanour and his signals of tension. These anxiety signals were subtle but constant and the more haunted facial expressions did form during un-performed moments, suggesting they were more representative of his mood.

‘When he did joke at one point, Meghan also placed a hand to his waist at the back in what looked like a checking or “restraining” reminder that they were keeping a lower profile.’

The Queen, 96, watched the ceremony on television as she moved out of the focal role in the four-day bank holiday weekend.

The royals are continuing with a host of engagements, which include the Derby at Epsom racecourse tomorrow and attendances at the thousands of Big Jubilee Lunches taking place on Sunday.


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