Times Royal Body Language Had Heads Turning

They are some of the most watched people in the world, and yet the members of the British royal family don't do a ton of talking. Official statements on behalf of a royal are few and far between, and are often in response to something dramatic — think the birth of a new royal baby, the response to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey, or the death of Queen Elizabeth II. All these statements had severity at the forefront, solidifying the idea that the royals stay close-lipped.

What is perhaps the most telling about the dynamic between the royals, then, is their body language. While official statements come once in a blue moon, the sheer amount of public appearances made by members of the firm give body language experts, royal commentators, and fans alike plenty of opportunities to dissect the scene. While many royals are pros when it comes to decorum, there are some interactions that simply can't be brushed aside as a misunderstood exchange or bad photo angle — sometimes, their body language speaks more loudly than any official statement could ever hope to, and luckily for us, many have been caught on camera.

From solo appearances to starstruck moments shared with fellow celebrities to tense interactions with spouses, the royals aren't immune to giving themselves away with the looks on their faces, the ways they position themselves in response to others, and more. So we're taking a deep dive into times that royal body language had heads turning.

Meghan and Harry's body language after making their exit announcement spoke volumes

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the shocking decision to step back from their roles as senior royals, they kicked off an exit strategy that had everyone watching. Meghan traded her signature muted tones for every single color in the rainbow, and Harry walked with a sense of freedom that was — love them or hate them — refreshing. But few moments rivaled the couple's appearance on March 5, 2020, with Meghan radiant in blue and Harry protecting her from the rain with an umbrella. Commenting on their body language during such a highly watched appearance was Traci Brown, who told Elite Daily that their joy was apparent in their shared smiles and in-step posture.

"They're broadcasting that they're a tight unit and really in support of each other. It's clear that they've had fun together. They look to be pretty well in step," Brown said of the moment captured by photographers on the scene. "She's fully facing his way and they appear to be locking eyes, looking at each other in close range, even as others look to them. That's real intimacy," the body language expert continued, concluding of the couple as they made their royal exit, "They're doing great. They're happy and bonded as a couple — they're a team here."

Anne's interaction with Sophie sparked conversations about their relationship

Of all the royals on the scene, Princess Anne has always maintained decorum, dedication, and a no-fuss attitude. Regularly named the hardest-working royal, Anne has proven time and time again that she simply has no time for frivolity — so all eyes were on her when she shared a moment with Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, that resulted in what could only be described as a peeved reaction.

Appearing together at the Royal Air Force 100 ceremony, Anne and Sophie were seated with Prince Edward, when the duchess started to giggle. Anne appeared to look in Sophie's direction with nothing less than an "Are you serious?" reaction, and body language expert Judi James broke down the exchange for Express. "Their body language together hints at differences that appear to move both women into rather contrasting states when they are together," she explained. "While Sophie wears a tooth-bearing, polite royal smile, Anne merely raises her brows and keeps her lips closed."

Further noting that the duchess seemingly wanted to get on Anne's good side, James further focused on Sophie's burst of laughter during the event. "Sophie looks uncharacteristically giggly and school-girlish here that looks prompted by something Edward is saying to her, rocking with uncontrollable laughter, with her eyes squeezed shut and her hand covering her mouth. This naughty schoolkid body language seems to have brought out a far more prim response from Anne."

Diana's body language during her Taj Mahal visit was incredibly telling

When King Charles III and Princess Diana's marriage started to publicly go downhill, the entire world was watching. Charles' affair with Camilla, Queen Consort, was the worst-kept secret, and yet Diana forged ahead the best way she knew how — working. Her and Charles' visit to India captured international attention, and while the couple appeared to put their differences aside to get the job done, Diana's body language during her now-famous visit to the Taj Mahal had everyone watching.

Posing alone in front of the monument to love, Diana sported a Mona Lisa smile and kept her hands in her lap. The image of her sitting by herself was burned into the psyche of the world watching, and she commented on the matter to Professor Mukund Rawat, who was giving her a tour of the grounds.

"It would have been better if both of us had been here. But my husband has to be in Delhi," Diana told Rawat (via the Mirror), who later commented, "It would have been better if both the prince and princess had come to the Taj Mahal. This is a monument that should have been felt and experienced by both. When I mentioned this to the princess she agreed. I did not ask why the prince had not come. I was not supposed to ask. But I felt she was a little sad he was not there."

Catherine's reaction to Tom Cruise's touch had people talking

It's not every day that you get to see the royal family interact with A-list celebrities, so all eyes were on Prince William and Princess Catherine when they joined Tom Cruise and the cast of "Top Gun: Maverick" for the film's London premiere. Looking stunning in a black column gown, Catherine lit up the red carpet, but it was her body language with Cruise that had people talking. In a breaking of royal protocol, the actor took Catherine's hand and helped her up the stairs, seemingly shaking William down according to body language expert Judi James.

"It was Kate who turned the full dazzle of her smiling attention onto Cruise, looking more like his A-list co-star than a royal as she walked along the red carpet in a stunning monochrome sheath dress," James told Express. "The dress created restricted movement and it was rather telling that it was Cruise's hand Kate held as she walked up the short flight of stairs rather than her husband's. The very gallant, gentlemanlike clasp seems to have lasted a few moments, too."

Turning her attention to William, the expert noted that the prince's own posture changed in response to Cruise's touch. "His response ... suggests he realizes there are times when a man has to back down and bite the bullet and when the iconic star of an iconic movie is using his charm on your wife, that is one of those moments."

The Fab Four's Windsor walkabout body language was so tense

Of all the interactions shared between Prince William, Princess Catherine, Prince Harry, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, few rivaled the international attention garnered by the Windsor walkabout. In the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's death in September 2022, the two couples reunited, greeting mourners outside the castle's gates and taking in the memorials erected in the queen's honor. However, their tense body language gave experts a field day, with Jesús Enrique Rosas noting that not only did Harry move Meghan purposely out of William and Catherine's way, but the Princess of Wales specifically seemed disturbed by their shared moment.

"It was obvious that despite how uncomfortable Catherine could be ... she managed to slay. She absolutely nailed the way one should behave when you find yourself in a situation in which you need to share the stage with others," Rosas said during a Royal Rogue video posted on YouTube. "Meghan was nervous, looking in Catherine's [direction], and Meghan's left hand was — at least, for a split second — covering her chest. Catherine was walking tall with her hands relaxed and her chin really up."

Further commenting on the way in which her posture changed, the expert noted, "I have seen Catherine walking thousands of times and she usually doesn't have her chin that high up — in some scenarios, it could be read as arrogance, but in this case, it was more like... she was [showing who was in charge]."

Harry and Meghan's engagement announcement body language garnered attention

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle first came on the royal scene as a couple, royal watchers were taken aback by their unabashed PDA. An uncommon dynamic among wedded royals, public displays of love for one another was the only language Harry and Meghan were speaking, and their engagement announcement and photo shoot only proved that estimation more true. Giving her evaluation of the event to The Sun, body language expert Judi James asserted that the engagement announcement not only proved that Meghan and Harry would be a touchy-feely couple, but that they were already supporting one another in the public eye.

"It was Meghan who rubbed Harry's arm in a gesture of reassurance as they approached the cameras. And each time they shifted poses, Meghan did the small tie-sign of an arm-rub to suggest she was in charge of the choreography," James dissected for the outlet. "While Harry stood smiling at the cameras, Meghan clutched his hand in both of her own in a gesture of love and possession. That signal was endorsed when she placed a hand on his chest as they wound their arms round each other."

Commenting on the couple as they walked away from the cameras, James further estimated of Harry and Meghan at the time, "After what looked very much like a sigh of relief, they threw their arms around one another and walked off looking relaxed and happy."

Diana and Camilla's body language during their joint appearance spoke volumes

It was a shocking turn of events when Princess Diana and Camilla, Queen Consort, shared a public outing. Camilla was not only King Charles III's then-ex, but she was rumored to be the other woman in the Waleses' relationship. Still, that didn't stop Diana and Camilla from attending the 1980 Ludlow races together, and body language expert Judi James broke down the awkward and very telling event for Express.

Commenting on how Camilla looked at Diana in an almost motherly way — as she was significantly older than the young royal — James said, "At the time, the poses were judged on face value because we were all sold on this fairy-tale romance between a young woman and a dashing, if slightly crusty bachelor prince. Diana was getting papped for the first time during this period and her body language here made her look dazzling but vulnerable, like a hunted deer. Her head is down and her eyes are up to the camera while her mouth forms her signature shy, unsure smile."

Camilla, meanwhile, stepped out with a natural confidence that Diana had yet to master. "At 33 years of age and clad in sensible, unflattering tweeds, Camilla looked like a lady-in-waiting who might have been chosen for her confident, maternal presence. She strode out beside Diana with her chin raised and her large bag clutched to her torso," James asserted of the now-queen consort.

The official portrait of Charles, Camilla, William, and Catherine had heads turning

When Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022, her son immediately became king, fulfilling the role he'd been waiting for his entire life. Shortly after, King Charles III, Camilla, Queen Consort, Prince William, and Princess Catherine posed for a portrait, no doubt to display both the present and the future of the monarchy. While the photograph was formal in many ways, the body language shared between the two couples was incredibly telling, as dissected by body language expert Judi James for Express.

"The body language and the construction of this pose creates a message of poignancy and continuity. ... [W]e have two royal males, one older but with his son directly beside him in a pose that signals strength and physical power," she started, taking time to dissect William's posture specifically. "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. 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."

Turning her attention to Camilla and Catherine, the expert noted that both women were fulfilling supporting roles with their body language, concluding, "Camilla's arm is around her husband's back and Kate's is in the same position with William. This gesture is also important in terms of the projection of continuity and stability."

Tension between Catherine and William at the coronation had people talking

All eyes were on the royals leading up to King Charles III's coronation, but both the day leading up to the big event and the ceremony itself had people talking about Princess Catherine and Prince William's dynamic. The day before the coronation, Catherine took part in a walkabout outside Buckingham Palace, with body language expert Carole Railton commenting that she looked "stressed and concerned" while doing so — a far cry from her usual centered self. Shifting her attention quickly throughout the day of the event, Railton further noted that Catherine's own movements were indicative of anxiousness, telling the Daily Mail that her hurried pace seemed to indicate she was in a "stressful situation." Railton also noted that "her voice was a little higher pitched than normal, which indicates nerves and stress in a body."

On the actual coronation day, many people quickly noted that not only were William and Catherine late for the ceremony, but they looked incredibly stressed while entering Westminster Abbey. Photos of their entrance quickly made it to social media, where one user wrote of the couple, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte, "Major 'fight in the car' energy from all four of them." Another Twitter user wrote, "Kate looks as if she had been crying. Her makeup doesn't cover the shadows under her eyes," and yet a third noted, "I know nothing about royalty but that's not a photo of a happy family."

Charles and Diana's turned body language was telling

Though King Charles III and Princess Diana's marriage seemed to be a fairy tale — at least from the outside — the reality was far different. Charles' ongoing affair with Camilla, Queen Consort, devastated the relationship, and by the late 1980s, things between the Waleses were distant and cold. Analyzing a joint appearance from 1989 for Reader's Digest, body language expert Patti Wood broke down the distant dynamic between the two royals, noting that Diana's posture especially hinted at just how cold things were between them.

"His shoulder turned away, his mouth tightly sealed," Wood said of Charles during the couple's joint appearance at the sultan's palace in Yogyakarta while on a trip to Indonesia that November. "It's as if Charles was forced by his mom to take this girl he doesn't like to the school dance."

Wood further pointed out that the couple could not have looked less interested in each other if they had tried. Noting that Diana had her leg pulled as close to her body as possible and her hands clasped together on top of her thighs, Wood pointed out, "Sexual intimacy is off the table and out of the question." Charles and Diana would go on to officially separate just a few short years later.

Catherine and William's body language during an international event sparked backlash

It isn't often that royals are captured on camera interacting with one another, but fans were treated to an interaction between Prince William and Princess Catherine while they greeted Crown Prince Al Hussein and his new bride, Princess Rajwa, following their wedding — or so they thought. The interaction between the British royals left many shocked, as William appeared to tell his wife to hurry up when talking to the newly named princess. Analyzing the clip for Express, body language expert Judi James asserted that the Prince of Wales was not on his best behavior, gravely misjudging the situation he was in at the time.

"This is not one of his finest moments when it comes to either body language or words," James concluded of William. "While he has clearly moved on from the meet and greet with the bride and groom, Kate stands talking to the bride in an animated and very friendly way. She is not causing a 'log jam' but holding up the queue and the next guests are still talking to the groom, so there appears to be no logical reason for William to hurry his wife along, especially as she only adds a few seconds to the conversation."

Focusing specifically on William's hand gesture toward his wife, James added that the motion was "bad enough" on its own, let alone with his clear lack of patience.

Meghan and Harry's reunion with the royal family had body language experts watching

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left behind their positions as senior royals in January 2020, it marked the beginning of a media storm. Sitting down with Oprah Winfrey, releasing their Netflix documentary series, and dropping Harry's book "Spare," the couple did not shy away from spilling their truths, making their first reunion with the royals amid Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebration that much more awkward. Commenting on Harry and Meghan's united front when entering St. Paul's Cathedral in June 2022, body language expert Elaine Swann said as part of the "Royally Us" podcast, "[They] truly lean on one another for that equal support," noting that Harry in particular was regularly checking in with his wife via body movements.

"There were gestures and holding her hand, giving her little glances to let her know that he's there for one another and they certainly had this united front with one another," Swann said. "It's very clear that, as far as the dynamic is concerned for this family, it really is them together collectively."

Taking in the entire event, Swann did note the significant gap between Harry, Meghan, and "the monarchy and the working royals in the family," noting that the couple "certainly put on the bravest face that they could and moved forward with their focus being, 'We're here to celebrate this jubilee and focus on this.'"

Catherine's body language with Roger Federer got some serious attention

Of all the royals, Princess Catherine is known for her sporty side. A champ when it comes to royal outings that require athleticism, Catherine revels in the chance to represent the royal family at Wimbledon. All eyes were on her and tennis pro Roger Federer during a Wimbledon 2023 match between Andy Murray and Ryan Peniston, as the royal and the sports champ looked incredibly comfortable with each other.

Commenting on the interaction in the stands for Express was body language expert Judi James, who inferred that the dynamic between Catherine and Federer was indicative of their respective star power. "There's clearly a strong level of fan-ship between Kate and Roger Federer as well as friendship," James said, noting that the princess was "overcome with awed delight to be sitting with him." Noting that the tennis pro gently touched the princess at one point, James continued, "[Federer's] hand on the arm, as well as the way the pair lean together, suggests the pleasure is mutual."

Of course, much attention was paid to Federer's wife, Mirka, who was also in attendance. Noting that she wasn't nearly as charmed by Catherine, James added, "Staring straight ahead with a glum facial expression, apparently blanking her husband as he turns to grin and chat, Mirka looks like a woman in the throes of a sulk. And that fist balled under her chin adds to that suggestion she might just have been feeling neglected."