Body Language Expert Analyzes Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ‘Emotionally Impulsive Gesture’ at Queen’s Westminster Service

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle showed an “emotionally impulsive gesture” at Queen Elizabeth’s Westminster service, one body language expert said. The Sussexes held hands as they departed the service while other family members were seen with some distance between them.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle body language compared to Prince William and Kate Middleton following service for the queen
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, and Kate Middleton | AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, Pool

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ‘break rank’ to hold hands

Meghan traveled to the service at Westminster Hall separately. Harry walked behind the queen’s coffin with Prince William and later, Meghan reunited with Harry at the service. They left Westminster holding hands.

Body language expert Judi James provided her Harry and Meghan analysis to The Sun, noting how the couple “break rank” for the “impulsive gesture.”

She explained, “Meghan and Harry do seem to break rank to hold hands at the end of the service. It looks like an emotionally impulsive gesture, driven by a need to touch and unite again.”

James continued, “But it’s hard to not factor in how Harry was not allowed to appear in uniform like the others — apart from Andrew — so possibly felt less restriction in terms of sustaining royal protocol.”

By comparison, the other members of the royal family walked out after the service with a “large gap between them.”

Harry and Meghan found comfort in the moment

The gesture was comforting to both Harry and Meghan. “As they walked in line behind William and Kate they closed up and both extended their hands to perform their signature hand clasp, with the clasp hanging between them,” James shared.

“The way they performed it as soon as they were able, suggested the time spent apart and then the moments standing formally together but with a gap between them had been difficult and even painful,” she said.

The body language expert said that holding hands allowed them both “to relax slightly.”

“Both appeared to relax very slightly once they were back using this affectionate tie-sign again,” James said.

Prince William and Kate Middleton don’t usually hold hands in public

William and Kate didn’t hold hands while leaving the service, as was the case at their recent appearance at Windsor Castle with Harry and Meghan.

The Sussexes held hands during that appearance, but William and Kate walked with their arms at their sides. James shared some possible reasons why William and Kate don’t hold hands in public, telling The Sun their “body language has always veered on the side of bland, but it is also always pitch-perfect for their royal role.”

The expert noted, “While Harry and Meghan were using their signature gesture of clasped hands, William and Kate used their own customary pose of having their arms hanging down by their sides with the hands almost brushing against one another but not quite.”

She continued, “As future king and queen they will always have been aware of using similar signals to previous wearers of the crown, which entail no hand-holding in public. They will operate individually as well as a team of two and this individuality is illustrated by the lack of constant coupling signals.”

Also, according to James, William and Kate may want to communicate an “elegant and adult” message and not appear “exclusive” to others. She noted, “The king and queen do sort of belong to the nation and this signal of exclusivity might be seen as contradictory.”

Showbiz Cheat Sheet acknowledges conditions and cultures can impact body language and is sensitive to all backgrounds.

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