Body Language Expert Tells Us Harry & Meghan's Xmas Card Is 'Deliberate' Split From Will & Kate

Photographs can tell a lot about someone and how they're feeling, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Christmas card photo for 2023 is no exception. The e-card was sent on December 15, 2023 from Archewell. According to People, the email also included a hyperlink to the 2022 to 2023 impact report for the Archewell Foundation.

Harry and Meghan's Christmas card photo features the two of them smiling and applauding Team United States during the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games earlier in the year. Their Christmas card is missing one key element — a family photo with their children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. The List spoke with body language expert Jess Ponce III to analyze the picture and Harry and Meghan's reasoning for choosing it. Ponce is also a communication coach who has worked with many famous clients and is the author of "A.W.E.S.O.M.E.: Seven Keys to Unlocking the Speaker Within."

"This photo captures a moment of triumph and genuine joy for Prince Harry and Meghan, devoid of any staged elements," Ponce said. He also compared Harry and Meghan's picture to those typically released by other royals: "Unlike typical royal Christmas photos, the couple appears relaxed and unposed, making it clear that this was a spontaneous highlight from their past year as both a couple and entrepreneurs. Remarkably, it transcends their royal status, as their popularity and financial background have undeniably contributed to their success in both stature and business." Ponce also had some thoughts about their body language in the photo.

Harry and Meghan may be 'hinting at a significant future'

While many official photos that the royal family releases for important events are posed or staged, the photo that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose was of a much more spontaneous moment. In Jess Ponce III's analysis of the couple's Christmas card image, he also took note of where they're looking. "Their eyes are lifted in genuine amazement, accompanied by elation in their smiles and jubilation in their claps," Ponce said. He admitted that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex likely knew they were being photographed (since they often are). Still, he said that "the couple seems more at ease here than in formal royal events."

In addition to the somewhat relaxed nature in Harry and Meghan's body language, Ponce also said, "Their upward gaze suggests a forward-looking perspective, perhaps hinting at a significant future." The future is looking bright for the Sussexes, thanks to Harry's victory in court against the tabloids.

Ponce added, "The evident fanfare surrounding them adds a touch of celebrity, a facet of their lives that they appear to relish." He also remarked on how Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet aren't in the picture, a marked difference from what Harry's brother Prince William chose to do for his family's 2023 Christmas card.

Expert called Harry and Meghan's photo a 'deliberate choice'

Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, shared their own Christmas card photo on Instagram on December 9, 2023. The black-and-white photo features Prince William and Kate Middleton with their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. Jess Ponce III mentioned how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's photograph is different than that kind of staged family picture and added, "Prince Harry and Meghan deliberately focus on themselves, their achievements, and their business. This deliberate choice stands in contrast to the understated nature of traditional royal family photos, portraying the couple's inclination to showcase their accomplishments."

After all the drama between Harry and his family over the past few years, it makes sense that he and Meghan would want to differentiate themselves from the royals with a new kind of picture. "Perhaps this is a statement of independence, asserting that they thrive without royal support," Ponce said, "or it may simply reflect their preference for being the center of attention — a trait that some Brits might view as distinctly American."