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A new photo of King Charles III, Camilla Parker Bowles, the queen consort, Prince William, and Kate Middleton includes a small detail one body language expert calls “incredibly rare.” The royal family revealed the photo was taken at Buckingham Palace on Sept. 18, the day before Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.

King Charles and Prince William stand together in uniform at the committal service for Queen Elizabeth
King Charles and Prince William | JUSTIN SETTERFIELD/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

King Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince William, and Kate Middleton pose in new photo

Buckingham Palace released the new portrait of the senior royal family members on Oct. 1. “Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort with Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales,” the caption read in a tweet from The Royal Family account.

Body language expert Judi James analyzed the photo for Express, pointing out some of the more interesting aspects, including King Charles’ “rare” gesture.

“The body language and the construction of this pose creates a message of poignancy and continuity,” James explained. “When the queen ascended to the throne the image was of one small but confident woman with her husband standing in a supporting role.  Here though we have two royal males, one older but with his son directly beside him in a pose that signals strength and physical power.”

James continued, “William’s splayed legs, clasped hands, and head tilts also define a man politely in waiting, reflecting his new role as the direct heir to the throne.”

She added, “The leadership signals are clearly all male now, although the wives are level in the line to hint at a more mutual sense of active duty and responsibility.”

The image conveys ‘unity,’ expert says

James further analyzed Camilla and Kate’s body language and found some signs of “unity.”

The body language expert noted, “Camilla and Catherine are both in poses that signal support … Camilla’s arm is around her husband’s back and Kate’s is in the same position with William.”

She continued, “This gesture is also important in terms of the projection of continuity and stability.” 

James also shared how the “gently affectionate tie-sign” is significant, as “it signals what is clearly hoped to be an end to marital rifts and soap opera.”

She added, “The sense of solidity is generational but also marital. The evenness of the line-up also places William and Catherine in direct unity with Charles and, most importantly, Queen Camilla.”

The body language expert further looked at William and the way he’s “relatively relaxed” with his head tilted towards Charles and Camilla, indicating the gesture “could be an important non-verbal message of unity to Harry, who is rumored to still have a less than happy relationship with Camilla.”


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Body language expert points out King Charles’ ‘incredibly rare’ PDA in the image

James also pointed out how King Charles was posed in the photo, displaying PDA that’s “incredibly rare” for him.

“Charles’ one hand in his pocket is a signature pose but what is less common, in fact incredibly rare, is the way that he had his arm around Camilla’s back in a reciprocal gesture,” James explained. 

“PDAs between this couple are unusual and to adopt this pose in one of their first official photos might signal a new era in terms of seeing some recognition signals as gestures of more open affection.”

James also looked at everyone’s smiles and how Charles showed “inner sadness,” given the queen’s recent death.

“As usual, the more complex emotions come from Charles,” she explained. “While the others all perform symmetric smiles that are mirrored, Charles’ asymmetric mouth angle hints at his inner sadness at his mother’s death.” 

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