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Prince Harry didn’t look so thrilled when Meghan Markle demonstrated an exaggerated curtsy during the Harry & Meghan documentary, a body language expert says. Meghan seemed to mock royal protocol and it was evident that Harry wasn’t comfortable about it.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle body language at Ripple of Hope Awards conveyed confidence and excitement
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Mike Coppola/Getty Images for 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala

Meghan Markle recalled meeting the queen for the first time

During the documentary, the couple revisited when Meghan met the queen for the first time. Meghan was stunned by the formality of performing a curtsy, comparing the royal protocol with a meal at the medieval-themed restaurant Medieval Times.

“She had no idea what it all consisted of,” Harry explained. “So it was a bit of a shock to the system for her.”

Meghan added, “I mean, it’s surreal. There wasn’t like some big moment of ‘And now you’re gonna meet my grandmother.’ I didn’t know I was going to meet her until moments before. We were in the car and we were going to Royal Lodge for lunch, and he’s like, ‘Oh, my grandmother is here, she’s gonna be there after church.’”

She continued, “I remember we were in the car, driving up and he’s like, ‘You know how to curtsy, right?’ And I just thought it was a joke.”

Meghan Markle demonstrated the curtsy in an exaggerated way

Prince Harry admitted that the curtsy royal protocol is “weird.”

“How do you explain that to people? How do you explain that you bow to your grandmother?” he said. “And that you will need to curtsy —  especially to an American. That’s weird.”

Meghan explained, “Now I’m starting to realize this is a big deal. I mean, Americans will understand this. We have Medieval Times dinner and tournament. It was like that.”

She demonstrated how she bowed and explained, “Like, I curtsied as though I was like [motions the curtsy] ‘Pleasure to meet you, your Majesty.’”

She added, “It was so intense. And then when she left, Eugenie and Jack and Fergie say ‘You did great!’ Thanks. I didn’t know what I was doing.”


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Body language expert points out how uncomfortable Prince Harry was when Meghan recreated the curtsy moment

Body language expert Judi James analyzed Harry’s reaction to Meghan’s mock curtsy, telling the Mirror that he looked quite uncomfortable.

“Meghan is the more chatty and natural speaker during their interview and here she sits talking confidently and readily in a slightly gossipy style as though talking to a girlfriend she is keen to amuse,” James said.

“Her joke is self-effacing as she speaks about her curtsy when she first met the late queen,” the expert continued, “Her smile becomes asymmetric, pulling up on one side to register a shared joke.”

James pointed out, “Harry, however, is already watching her carefully, turning to gaze at the side of her face with his own facial expression looking less turned to ‘fun’ than hers.”

She added, “Meghan does an extravagant mock-curtsy that does, as she says, look medieval. It takes her eight seconds to perform, making it a long joke but there is no change in Harry’s more serious facial expression until the end, when he lets out a small, mirthless laugh.”

James pointed out how Harry performed a “cut-off” signal while Meghan was talking. “As Meghan mentions ‘Your Majesty,’ the direct reference to the late queen, it does seem a small step too far for Harry who quickly drops his head down to perform a cut-off ritual that partially hides his face, suggesting some discomfort at this point,” James explained.