Harry and Meghan’s behaviour ‘morphed in extreme situations’ but love never ‘compromised’

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Royal fans rejoiced when Prince Harry’s engagement to US actress Meghan Markle was finally announced in 2017. Prince Charles released a statement on November 27 expressing his “delight” that his younger son would be tying the knot in spring 2018. A sweet photocall at Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden swiftly followed.

Dressed in a white coat and nude heels, Meghan beamed as she posed with her princely husband-to-be in front of the cameras. Looking dapper in a blue suit, Prince Harry looked equally besotted by his future bride.

While Harry and Meghan’s body language as a couple has changed over the last five years, there are still many glimmers of the loved-up newly engaged couple the world was introduced to at their photocall in 2017.

Body language expert Judi James said: “Harry and Meghan’s body language signals have grown, expanded, morphed to suit the extreme situations they have been through together, but then they have also magically come back full circle to where they started from with their engagement.

“Their engagement poses showed firstly the love between them but they also hinted at how Meghan was in the role of support and encouragement for her husband-to-be.

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“Meghan portrayed Harry as a high-ranking, heroic figure, leaning her torso in towards him to look compliant, although also performing some subtler and more dominant nurturing and almost maternal body language signals to seem to help him through a challenging moment.

“Harry’s relationship with the press was difficult, to say the least, but Meghan seemed to be encouraging him to get through the ‘spotlight’ moments. Her hand clasp involved a holding of the arm with her other hand and she used this gesture of emphatic bonding to perform small rubs and taps to steer the appearance and to reassure Harry, whose odd leg-hold here was part of a ritual of more anxious-looking gestures.”

Fast-forward five years, Harry and Meghan are now married with two children and they live in the US. Based on analysis of recent outings, the Sussexes look as loved-up as ever, but their body language has evolved slightly.

In the last year, Harry and Meghan have made high-profile appearances at the Invictus Games in The Hague, the Platinum Jubilee service at St Paul’s Cathedral and at the Queen’s funeral in September.

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Judi said of the Sussexes’ behaviour at the Invictus Games: “Meghan and Harry’s more recent appearance at the Invictus Games produced the ‘full circle’ body language effect of the couple going back to where they started.

“So far they seem to have a trait that was shared by the late Queen and Prince Philip of emerging with very similar body language signals as they did in the early days of their relationship.

“Like their first public appearance as a couple at the Invictus Games, Harry is sporting a more alpha pose, with his shoulders and chest splayed to suggest comfortable confidence in surroundings he loves, while Meghan leans in using that double-handed hand and arm clasp that she used during their engagement poses.

“This looks like the same couple that we saw at the Invictus Games first off, when Harry was showing Meghan round with a look of proud delight and Meghan was flattering him, in her white shirt and ripped jeans, clinging to his arm and looking sweetly attentive.”

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While Harry and Meghan looked at ease during their trip to the Netherlands, very different body language was displayed when they visited the UK for the Platinum Jubilee in June 2022.

The couple kept a low profile during their visit, only appearing publicly for the service at St Paul’s Cathedral, but their love for each other was again clear for all to see. Harry dressed in a smart suit while Meghan looked ethereal in a white coat dress and hat, and both held hands throughout the day as a supportive measure.

Judi said: “Harry’s body language showed how troubled he was about life within the Firm and we saw long periods of this more dour facial expression both before he left the country and when he returned for events like this.

“The bonding signals with Meghan were a constant feature though, like this hand clasp, and their touch rituals often seemed to be offering mutual support.

“Meghan clearly found it easier to put on a display of confidence and regal-looking smiles while Harry tended to let his feelings show publicly. The feelings that never looked compromised though were those loving ones the pair shared.”

The couple once again appeared publicly in the UK following the death of the Queen in September 2022. The Sussexes reunited with the new Prince and Princess of Wales as they viewed tributes to the Queen outside Windsor and spoke to the crowds gathered to pay their respects.

Judi said of their body language at the outing: “The Queen’s death showed subdued signals from both Harry and Meghan although Meghan’s body language resilience, probably thanks to her acting skills, meant she pulled this occasion off with more visual ease than Harry.

“While Harry performed some self-comfort anxiety rituals, Meghan was on-hand with her small back pats and strokes to offer support and, again, encouragement.”

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