Prince Harry’s surprise visit to an NHL ice hockey game last night where he dropped the first puck helped confirm his royal status in America, an expert said today.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex watched excitedly as the Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 from a VIP box at the Rogers Arena in Canada yesterday.
‘Playful’ Harry was pictured dropping the puck for Tomas Hertl from the Sharks and Quinn Hughes from the Canucks during a ceremonial face-off ahead of the whistle.
His late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II made the same puck drop at a 2002 match, also between the Canucks and Sharks, during her Golden Jubilee tour of Canada.
Now, body language expert Judi James has said Harry’s role ‘seems to confirmed an enduringly ‘royal’ status in the US’ – and revealed a ‘narrative of total immersion in US culture too, almost outdoing Taylor Swift in his celebratory, fanboy rituals’.
She also told MailOnline that that puck drop was ‘so clearly the old Harry out on the ice’, using body language ‘that is more ‘Royal Harry’ than celebrity’.
Ms James said there was ‘some slight tension showing’ as he sucked his lips while making his way across a carpet on the ice ‘but his walk and his wave to the crowd suggests he’s adoring being out there in the spotlight again as a royal presence’.
Prince Harry drops the puck during a ceremonial face-off with Quinn Hughes (right) of the Vancouver Canucks and Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks prior to their NHL game last night
Meghan clutches her wine glass as Harry cheers a Canucks win last night
The Queen drops the puck in 2002 when the same teams played on her Golden Jubilee tour
She said he also performed his ‘own version of a royal wave’, with the index and next finger splayed apart in a ‘V’- shaped victory signal.
And Ms James said there was ‘the playful, naughty-looking version of Prince Harry again, flashing his old ‘devilish’ grin at the cameras and sharing a joke and a mimed wiping of his forehead to signal ‘phew’ before he walks beaming back to his VIP box’.
But he also pointed out that Harry could ‘pick up some of his wife’s celebrity cues’, as she carried out a ‘little attention-friendly dance ritual’ which was looking ‘much more on-brand than Harry’s awkward little goal-scoring boogie’.
It comes after Harry and Meghan opted out of kissing on a jumbotron during the visit, which also saw them drink and dance to Simple Minds as the goals flew in.
Speaking about Harry’s visit, Ms James said: ‘Harry’s appearance and puck-drop at the ice hockey seems to confirmed an enduringly ‘royal’ status in the US as he performs a ritual his grandmother the late Queen was honoured to do several years before.
‘But Harry also uses his body language here to reveal a narrative of total immersion in US culture, too, almost outdoing Taylor Swift in his celebratory, fanboy rituals as he watches and enjoys the game from the VIP box.
The Duke and Duchess on the jumbotron giant screen last night – but they did not kiss for the crowd
The couple clearly enjoyed being back in Canada – the country where Meghan worked as an actress and they fell in love. Vancouver is hosting the next Invictus Games in 2025
As the goals flew in for the home side, Meghan and Harry began dancing to the music in the third quarter
‘Harry is aware he’s on the big stadium screen at times but his joy here looks spontaneous and authentic.
‘His body language is explosive, going from folded arms and disengaged eye expression to suddenly leaping from his seat, throwing his arms in a body splaying of delight. As he claps though he adds a nod to the US audience by hollering and whooping in pure US style.
‘Harry follows this up though with something more royal and child-like as he performs a little celebratory dance ritual, his mouth now clamped in a competitive gesture and his hands forming fists that do air-punches. His expression of open-mouthed delight is shared with another guest here.
‘Meghan is four seconds behind her husband and far more adult and elegant in her response as she puts her wine glass down carefully before joining in, prompting Harry to put his arm out in what looks like a non-verbal apology for being so noisy and explosive.’
At one point Harry and Meghan were seen enjoying the action while cuddling and later jumping in the air to cheer.
But there was an awkward moment when the couple appeared to blush and laughed awkwardly as they flashed up on the jumbotron in the first period, ignoring the cheering crowd willing them on to kiss.
The Duke of Sussex was seen explaining what had happened in the game at one point when his wife appeared confused
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex get cozy in their box at the Rogers Arena last night
Meghan Markle celebrates at the NHL game in Canada – a country very important to her and Harry as it was where they began courting. Her friend Markus Anderson is with her. He was the man who organized the Sussexes’ first date
In April Harry tried and failed to kiss Meghan on the big screen at a LA Lakers basketball match – making a joke of it – but last night he decided against another attempt.
When the Canucks won the match, Harry leapt up and Meghan put down her wine glass so they could both dance to celebrate the victory as Simple Minds’ hit Don’t You Forget About Me played.
Ms James also told MailOnline: ‘This is so clearly the old Harry out on the ice to drop the puck here, using body language that is more ‘Royal Harry’ than celebrity.
‘There’s some slight tension showing as he sucks his lips in but his walk and his wave to the crowd suggests he’s adoring being out there in the spotlight again as a royal presence.
‘He performs his own version of a royal wave, with the index and next finger splayed apart in a ‘V’- shaped victory signal.
‘His impatient, metronomic tapping of the puck box as he waits for the skaters is a nod to Charles’s famous impatience but once the guys are there it’s the playful, naughty-looking version of Prince Harry again, flashing his old ‘devilish’ grin at the cameras and sharing a joke and a mimed wiping of his forehead to signal ‘phew’ before he walks beaming back to his VIP box.
‘Harry might like to pick up some of his wife’s celebrity cues, though. There is always a risk that they will be plastered out there on the big screen at events like this and while Harry stands chatting with a friend, leaving Meghan standing alone beside him, her eyes do seem to be up on the screen, with her own version of a little attention-friendly dance ritual looking much more on-brand than Harry’s awkward little goal-scoring boogie.’
The appearance comes ahead of the Invictus Games, the international multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick armed forces personnel, which Harry founded in 2014, being held in Vancouver and Whistler in 2025.
The couple appeared in public together for the first time at the Toronto Invictus Games in 2017.
Meghan smiles as she takes to her seat after an exciting moment in the hockey match
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their seats in the first period, with Canada’s indigenous leaders in front
Ms James also told how Meghan and Harry’s body language responses to a ‘tense moment on the ice’ last night showed two ‘very different states under pressure here’.
She said: ‘Harry’s tendency seems to be to self-calm and self-soothe. He strokes his nose then drags the hand down to stroke his beard, too.
‘It’s a royal habit, with both his father and his brother using self-comfort self-touch rituals when they are tense, like Charles’s cuff-fiddle and pocket pat and William’s hand-rubbing.
‘Meghan though, looks challenging and more actively dominant. Her mouth falls open in disbelief and her arms are held out with the hands palm-upright. At a football match she’d probably be questioning the ref.
‘Her ritual in the second video looks equally dominant and even authoritative. Her index finger is held up in a gesture usually associated with giving a command or an order and her brows are raised in a congruent signal.
‘The finger forms a baton gesture to make her point and it is followed by a precision pinch gesture to emphasise that she is right.’
Also with the couple last year was Markus Anderson, a friend of Meghan’s from Toronto when she was filming Suits, and who helped organise her first date with Harry in London. He is described as the second most important man in her life after her British husband.
Harry’s ceremonial puck drop came 21 years after the late Queen did the same when the teams played each in 2002. She was on an 11-day tour in Canada in honor of her Golden Jubilee. But one of the players involved last night revealed that he had to repeatedly ask Harry to drop it because ‘he kept holding it and smiling’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in Canada for work to promote the next Invictus Games, which will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in February 2025. Their visit came a week after a whistleblower told MailOnline that the Games are in ‘turmoil’ after two of its most senior executives were ‘dismissed for no apparent reason’ with just over a year to go.
Others in the VIP box with Meghan and Harry were local indigenous leaders, British Columbia premier David Eby and the region’s tourism, arts, culture and sports minister, Lana Popham.
There were Invictus Games staff with them and three indigenous group leaders. Chief Wayne Sparrow, from the Musqueam Indian Band, Wilson Williams, from the Squamish Nation and chief Jennifer Thomas from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
Meghan has long been associated with the Soho House properties due to her long-standing friendship with Markus Anderson, the lifestyle club chain’s chief membership officer.
Mr. Anderson was also at the Canucks game last night, at one point standing with the Duchess of Sussex to cheer the team.
It was Mr. Anderson who arranged a private room at Soho House in London for the Montecito-based couple’s first date, while Meghan threw a low-key hen night ahead of her 2018 wedding at Soho Farmhouse in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, UK.
Mr. Anderson is very good friends with New York-based fashion designer Misha Nonoo, who is said to have introduced Meghan and Harry to each other.
Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, made the ceremonial puck drop at a 2002 match, also between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks, during her two-week Golden Jubilee tour of Canada.
It was the first NHL game the Queen had attended since 1951 when, still a princess, she and Prince Philip watched the Montreal Canadiens take on the New York Rangers.
NHL star Tomáš Hertl spoke after the game about the experience of meeting Harry.
‘I actually had to tell him [to drop the puck] because he keeps holding and smiling,’ he said.
‘I said, “it’s time to drop it”. But it’s a cool moment. For sure I will remember that one.’
Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said he spoke to Prince Harry, who he hinted wasn’t sure about a fist bump.
‘I gave him a fist bump, I don’t know if you’re allowed to do that. I did it, he did it. He kind of looked at me but he did it,’ he said.
Meghan and Harry arrive for the NHL hockey match
Harry and Meghan next to the ice in Vancouver
The Duke of Sussex bumps fists with a fan by the rink
Harry waves to the crowd as he walks on to the ice
There was cheering from the crowd at the Rogers Arena for the surprise visit
Meghan donned an ensemble costing approximately £125,277 ($157,030).
The Duchess of Sussex, 42, opted for a casual yet sleek look in all-black attire, including ‘Serge’ bootcut trousers from French American brand Altuzarra – available for £555 ($695). She matched the elegant bottoms with a simple black jumper for the occasion.
But it was Meghan’s jewelry that stole the show yesterday evening as she watched the Canucks take on the San Jose Sharks at the Rogers Arena, with a combined worth of £65,761 ($82, 429).
The Duchess seems to favor the French brand Cartier, as she sported the £15,500 ($19,428) Juste un Clou necklace in yellow gold and diamonds, the classic ‘Love’ yellow gold bracelet priced at £7,050 ($8,835), and a Gold Tank Française Watch, which starts from £21,400 ($26,821) in yellow gold.
She added a further touch of a glamour and with a Lorraine Schwartz ‘Against Evil Eye’ bracelet, for a cool £15,011.84 ($18,815).
The Sussexes’ outing comes a few days after Meghan’s surprise arrival at the Variety Power Of Women event in Los Angeles to celebrate the accomplishments of women in entertainment.
The former Suits actress said she was ‘thrilled’ to have returned to the entertainment industry with Archewell Productions and is ‘really proud’ of the projects they have has created so far, including docu-series Harry & Meghan and Heart Of Invictus.
She also teased future projects, saying: ‘We have so many exciting things on the slate… I can’t wait until we can announce them, but I’m just really proud of what we’re creating. My husband is loving it too which is really fun.’
Experts told MailOnline that they believe the flurry of A-list appearances is a PR ‘tactic’ to pitch for lucrative work and create a new buzz around Meghan, and her husband.
Harry was seen cracking jokes with the players
The royal then smiles as he dropped the puck, just as his grandmother did in 2002
Harry shakes hands with Quinn Hughes of the Canucks
Up in the VIP box, Meghan and Mr. Anderson were cheering as Harry looked to the heavens to the left
Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, celebrate a Vancouver Canucks goal during the third period of the NHL game
Prince Harry speaks to an official in his seat
The Invictus Games will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in February 2025 and will feature winter sports for the first time.
MailOnline exclusively revealed last week that CEO Peter Lawless, a lawyer and arguably Canada’s most respected Olympic and Paralympic administrator, left his job abruptly.
An insider has claimed that Mr. Lawless, who was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal by Harry’s grandmother the Queen in 2012, was fired and morale amongst staff is now ‘at an all time low’. An Invictus Games spokesman declined to comment on whether he was sacked, instead saying he had been ‘transitioned out’ and was ‘no longer an employee’ but will remain an ambassador.
Also leaving the Vancouver-Whistler team is Bill Cooper, who was in the role of chief commercial officer for ten months until he left in October. He has thanked colleagues for their support after several praised his ‘grace’ and accused Invictus 2025 of making a big mistake by getting rid of him.
One Games volunteer said that staff are ‘concerned that these recent moves will again overshadow this incredible event for our veterans’. They also raised concerns that the Sussexes’ security and other costs may put a strain on the Games’ finances if Invictus 2025 has to pick up the bill.
It came just two months after Harry and Meghan turned on the charm at a reception thrown by the Canadian delegation to promote the 2025 Invictus Games.
The Duchess of Sussex, 42, chatted with members of the committee that will be organizing the games to be held in Vancouver – a city they know well having fled there in 2019 after quitting royal life.
Meghan has close friends in the city and holds great affection for Canada having lived in Toronto while she was filming the series ‘Suits’.
The couple are very familiar with Vancouver having temporarily moved there in 2019 when they split from the royal family.
They stayed on Vancouver Island at a £14-million home in North Saanich, British Columbia, following their decision to step back from being working members of the royal family.
The split was termed ‘Megxit’ and the couple stayed in Canada several months before relocating to Montecito in California. Meghan chatted with many of the competitors who have taken part in the events in Dusseldorf.
And for the first-time, adaptive winter sports including alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and curling will be included in the program of weeklong events to be staged in the resort of Whistler.
It is not yet clear if Invictus 2025 is looking for a new CEO and chief commercial officer.