Prince Harry‘s ‘silent pause’ and ‘gesture of regret’ when asked about Prince Charles suggested his relationship with his father will be harder to mend than his and William’s, a body language expert has claimed.
During the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’ tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired on CBS on Sunday, Harry’s body language created a ‘much stronger presence’ than it did in the teaser trailers, Judi James told FEMAIL.
She said Harry demonstrated he has very much taken on the role of ‘protector and defender’ in his marriage to Meghan, who admitted she ‘didn’t want to be alive’ at one point during her life within the Royal Family.
Meanwhile Meghan’s ‘generally understated’ body language made her delivery ‘all the more shocking and compelling’, and her cradling of her baby bump suggests ‘protective motherhood’ relating to the narrative about Harry and Archie losing their royal protection, Judi claimed.
During the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’ tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired on CBS on Sunday, Harry’s body language created a ‘much stronger presence’ than it did in the teaser trailers, Judi James told FEMAIL
Judi added that the couple’s body language suggested they were keen to let people know that the smiles they saw in photos were ‘masking tears and potential tragedy behind the scenes’.
She remarked that Harry looked ‘almost tearful’ when he spoke about his father and feeling ‘really let down because he’s been through something similar’.
Harry said while Charles and the rest of his family were welcoming to Meghan at first, things changed after their New Zealand tour – and when the couple travelled to Canada for Christmas shortly before announcing their plans to quit the Firm, his father stopped taking his calls.
‘He knows what pain feels like… and Archie’s his grandson. I will always love him, but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened,’ Harry said.
‘I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship. But they only know what they know, and that’s the thing.’
Meghan Markle became tearful as she told Oprah Winfrey she felt suicidal when she was part of the Royal Family living in the UK and told her husband: ‘I don’t want to be alive anymore’
The Duke added that while Charles is now speaking to him on the phone, there is ‘a lot to work though’ because he feels ‘really let down’.
Judi said Harry’s most dramatic body language shift occurred when discussing his father. ‘The silent pause was so telling, as were the eye cut-off, head-shake and tongue-poke,’ she explained.
‘Harry sucked his lips in, which is often a gesture of regret and he looked almost tearful as he spoke of “a lot of hurt”.’
She added: ‘When asked about “blind-siding” the Queen, Harry performed a finger-pick and eye-dart plus a pause as Meghan face-gazed before illustrating his respect and affection.
‘His response to William’s name was surprisingly affectionate too. It prompted a smile and even a small laugh as he told us he loves William. He clapped his hands together then threw them apart as though miming the split after friction but his smile suggested it was a relationship that could be mended.’
Prince Harry’s ‘silent pause’ and ‘gesture of regret’ when asked about Prince Charles suggested his relationship with his father will be harder to mend than his and William’s, Judi claimed (pictured at the Commonwealth Day Service in March 2020)
Although Meghan became tearful at one point, Judi observed how for the most part of the interview her body language looked generally understated.
‘She used a constant shake of the head from side to side to suggest disbelief at the things she said she had suffered, plus eye cut-offs or a longer closing of her eyes to suggest pain at the memories,’ she said.
‘Meghan threw frequent imploring hand gestures at Oprah, with the palm of the hand placed upward to suggest a desire for empathy and agreement, but some hand-chopping gestures, some eye-stutters and a couple of subtle tongue-pokes suggested supressed anger at her memories, especially when she spoke about losing protection for Harry and Archie.’
Judi observed how Meghan’s cradling of her baby bump during the interview was a gesture she used when she was pregnant with Archie.
‘In video we were told by Meghan about her levels of distress at this point, suggesting that gesture could also have been hugely protective back then too, probably even more so given how she described her life and treatment,’ Judi said.
She added that Harry performed some ‘thigh-rub self-comfort rituals’, suggesting a natural awkwardness when he first appeared part-way through the chat with Oprah, and was reassured by his wife who quickly stretched out an arm to place a hand over his in a protective gesture.
‘By the end though it was Harry’s hand over Meghan’s suggesting he had now very much taken the role of protector and defender,’ Judi continued.
Although Meghan became tearful at one point, Judi observed how for the most part of the interview her body language looked generally understated
‘At one point he even touched her hand to interrupt and take over the narrative. His constant rubbing of his wedding ring showed clearly where his affection and comfort lies.
‘Harry performed his own rituals of suppressed anger as he affirmed Meghan’s narrative and added his own thoughts and experiences and if anything his emotional displays of anger and grief looked more open than hers.
‘Like Meghan he adopted a precision-pinch gesture frequently to suggest detailed thinking, as well as lifting his hand in the air to turn it round as though turning an invisible door-knob as he spoke of his problems.
‘He even used illustrative gestures to mime parts of his distress, miming the “trapped” life that he had been leading with a two-handed roof gestures.’
Harry said he felt ‘trapped’ within the royal institution, and said he has ‘huge compassion’ for the fact his family members still are.
‘My father and my brother, they are trapped,’ he said. ‘They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that.’
Judi concluded that the more candid footage shown during the interview of the couple at home was used to illustrate what they would describe as ‘the freedom and simplicity of their lives after Megxit’.
‘It’s Tom and Barbara from the Good life, with wellies on feeding chickens as Meghan describes herself as The Little Mermaid who married her prince,’ she said.
‘After all the talk of tragedy these clips seem necessary to illustrate the very simple pleasures of life outside the “trapped” existence of palaces and royal life. The mood is completely different and happy, showing us that the now carefree couple made the right choice in getting away.’