A body language expert has pointed out the ‘distinct lack of affection’ between Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex just days after they were slammed over ‘inappropriate hand holding’ at the Queen’s lying in state service.
The couple, who are typically seen with their fingers interlocked, kept their distance throughout the funeral service at Westminster Abbey on Monday.
Body language expert Katia Loisal explained the distinct change in the couple’s behaviour could have been a reaction recent intense criticism over their public displays of affection.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex showed ‘no signs of affection’ during the Queen’s funeral, body language expert says
This comes after the couple were grilled for their ‘inappropriate hand holding’ during the Queen’s lying in state service
‘It was interesting to note the lack of affection and mutual touch between Prince Harry and Meghan,’ she said.
The couple filed into the church behind Prince William, Princess Kate, Charlotte and George, keeping a ‘formal distance’ as they walked side-by-side.
‘Whilst most in the procession walked with arms by their side, a sombre Meghan kept her head bowed, eyes downcast and hands clasped in front, in a self-protective gesture indicating a level of discomfort or uncertainty, and perhaps as a sign of respect,’ Katia told 7Life.
The couple maintained the ‘rigid’ formal distance once they sat down, though they did slightly orientate their bodies toward each other and ‘mimic’ each other’s posture.
Katia pointed out other unusual body language from the royals in attendance – noting the typically composed family showed signs of ‘genuine sadness and distress’.
Prince William and Harry both had compressed lips, furrowed brows, droopy eyelids and a noticeable increase in blinking and swallowing – indicating they were holding back tears, she explained.
‘Whilst most in the procession walked with arms by their side, a sombre Meghan kept her head bowed, eyes downcast,’ Katia said
She also ‘had her hands clasped in front, in a self-protective gesture indicating a level of discomfort or uncertainty, and perhaps as a sign of respect,’ Katia explained
Their father, King Charles, was also showing signs of distress. He repeated pacifying and self soothing gestures to get through the service, including stroking the top of his sword and ‘rocking backwards and forwards’.
‘Rocking is often seen in times of high psychological distress and is an effective way of reducing anxiety and tension, promoting a sense of calm through stimulation of the balance centre,’ Katia explained, noting the princes also rocked throughout the service.
The expert recently weighed in on an ‘icy moment’ between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, after the newly-minted Princess of Wales was seen flashing a stern glare at her sister-in-law during the Fab Four’s walkabout at Windsor Castle over the weekend.
The expert said pictures of the princes showed they were holding back tears
While she highlighted the King’s distress, explained he was rocking and stroking his sword, in an attempt to self-soothe and push through
Video of the seemingly-tense interaction – which came amid ongoing speculation about the frosty rift between Prince William and his brother Prince Harry – was closely dissected by viewers on the internet, with thousands speculating about the meaning behind it.
Katia suggested the split-second ‘look’ would have torn into Meghan’s self-confidence and noting that the Duchess of Sussex seemed incredibly uneasy during the public appearance.
‘Quite unlike the confident Meghan we know, Meghan appeared ill at ease during this encounter, which is not surprising given the recent criticism that she has faced,’ Katia told Seven News.
An ‘icy moment’ between Kate Middleton, the newly-minted Princess of Wales, and Meghan Markle is being dissected online after the pair were reunited on Sunday
The tense look melted away as Kate tuned to wave to the crowd
She went on to note that Prince William appeared to be making an effort with his sister in-law, but claimed Kate’s actions made it look as though she was trying to ‘freeze out’ Meghan.
‘On numerous occasions Meghan looked over at Kate, however, the gaze wasn’t reciprocated,’ Katia said.
The expert noted Kate chose to ‘look through’ Meghan instead.
This, Katia says, appeared to make Meghan feel uncertain and uncomfortable which can be seen in the way she stooped her head, side stepped and faced away from Kate.
‘Meghan’s hand lifted hesitantly as if to wave, but stopped mid air, rather pausing to adjust her hair, her head and gaze lowered, before looking up and giving a quick wave, her arm coming back to rest in front of her body in a partial arm barrier,’ Katia added.
Meghan’s body language didn’t go unnoticed by Harry, according Katia, who touched her arm gently and came to her side to protect her.
Katia’s comments on the ‘icy’ moment between Kate and Meghan come after another body language expert, Judi James, spoke to MailOnline about the Fab Four’s surprise public appearance.
The surprise group outing marked the first time that the two couples have appeared in public together since Commonwealth Day on March 9, 2020, just weeks before the Covid lockdown.
And while the foursome attempted to put on a show of unity as they greeted mourners who had turned out to honor the late Queen, Judi stated that there were ‘no signs of affection’ between the two couples.
Prince William is seen offering an arm to Meghan Markle as the ‘Fab Four’ were reunited to mourn the Queen’s death
The two couples, who had not been seen together in an official capacity since March 2020, appeared to maintain their distance from each other
The royals, once dubbed the ‘fab four’, were greeted by applause as they walked along the gates of Windsor Castle together. However, all did not appear to be completely well among the feuding couples, who at times appeared uneasy in each other’s company.
‘This is a phenomenal and unexpected scene that displays some natural caution and awkwardness in the body language, although as a statement of intent it seems choreographed as something of a loving tribute the Queen and in some ways the new King, who took what was maybe the first step in speaking of his love for Harry and Meghan in his recent speech,’ she shared.
‘The four line up together to suggest some form of unity and it is William, with his puffed chest and air of confidence, who looks like the leader and instigator. Harry performs some clothing touch anxiety rituals but Meghan seems to be on hand to offer comfort, support and encouragement.’
As they walked along the gates of Windsor Castle together, temporarily putting aside the differences sparked by the Sussexes’ departure, they appeared to maintain a significant distance from each other.
The couples only came together briefly at the start and end of the engagement.
Throughout the rest of the walkabout, which is believed to have lasted some 30 minutes, Prince William and Kate, and Meghan and Harry, appeared to stick to their two couples – perhaps instructed to by their aides – and barely interacted during the sombre occasion.
At times during the walkabout, all four split up, to greet and speak with members of the public individually.
As the four emerged from their vehicle, the couples spoke to an unidentified man, thought to be an aide. At one point during the conversation, Harry stepped back towards Meghan, and the pair listened while locked in an embrace, with the Duke’s arm around his wife’s waist.
After speaking to the crowds, the couples made their way to their separate vehicles. At one point, the two Duchesses appeared to be avoiding making eye contact (pictured)
During the walkabout, the royals inspected the sea of floral tributes laid outside the gates of the Berkshire estate in tribute to the late Queen
As they started walking, with the two men standing next to each other, while their respective wives flanked them on the outside, William and Harry appeared to engage in a brief chat, as Kate and Meghan looked straight ahead.
At times, Kate appeared to stand some distance from the group.
‘Kate looks slightly distanced although she is close to William when the couples split slightly,’ said Judi.
As they reached the gates, the two couples stopped to look at some of the floral tributes left by well-wishers.
Harry and Meghan stayed close together at the beginning of the event, and often if they were separated, were seen reaching for each other to hold hands.
According to Judi: ‘When the couple clasp hands it is Harry’s fingers wiggling downward while Meghan’s are curled around his palm, with her thumb gently stroking his hand. She performs touches on his back and small strokes and other tie-signs and there are some moments when she is the one looking across for communication with William and Kate.’
As the royals started the long walk to Windsor Castle, the couples split up, each attending to one side of the crowd, which was heard cheering both the couples. The four greeted members of the public within their respective couplings, as well as separately.
Once they finished meeting the public, they reconvened in front of their vehicles, where they had a brief chat, before getting into their respective cars.
Describing the overall tone of the meeting, Judi said: ‘There’s no signs of relaxed engagement or even affection here but the fact they are lining up together and communicating again is impressive in itself.
Before the walkabout, the couples spoke to an Paul Sedgwick (left), the deputy ranger of Winsor Park, with William and Kate appearing to do most of the talking, as Meghan hung back
As they emerged from their vehicle, the two couples did not appear to be engaging with each other, and looked straight ahead
‘It’s an adult approach from the new Prince of Wales and it could have broken a lot of ice in terms of their body language at the funeral and beyond.’
The appearance by the two couples came after Prince William shared a public statement about the death of his grandmother.
In the post, which he shared on Instagram, the royal wrote: ‘On Thursday, the world lost an extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth was absolute. So much will be said in the days ahead about the meaning of her historic reign.
‘I, however, have lost a grandmother. And while I will grieve her loss, I also feel incredibly grateful. I have had the benefit of The Queen’s wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade. My wife has had 20 years of her guidance and support. My three children have got to spend holidays with her and create memories that will last their whole lives.
‘She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life. I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real.
‘I thank her for the kindness she showed my family and me. And I thank her on behalf of my generation for providing an example of service and dignity in public life that was from a different age, but always relevant to us all.
‘My grandmother famously said that grief was the price we pay for love. All of the sadness we will feel in the coming weeks will be testament to the love we felt for our extraordinary Queen.
‘I will honour her memory by supporting my father, The King, in every way I can.’