Expert Decodes What William, Kate, Harry, And Meghan's Body Language Really Means

If there is one group of people in the world whose every single move, gesture, and blink of an eye is analyzed and scrutinized for deeper meaning, that would be the British royal family. Specifically, the younger generation consisting of future King William and Queen (consort) Kate as well as self-deposed, technically-no-longer-royal couple Harry and Meghan. While everyone and her sister seems to have an opinion on the deeper meaning behind every royal snapshot that gets splashed across the tabloids, most of these are opinions are worth about as much as the long-obsolete farthing (a worn-out, non-collectible one).

If there's one person who might actually be able to analyze the royals' reactions based on photos or videos alone, that person would be a body language expert. Luckily, we were able to track down such an expert: Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, Dr. Fran Walfish, who is the author of author of The Self-Aware Parent, regular expert child psychologist on The Doctors, and co-star on SEX BOX on WE tv. She agreed to take a look at what the royal body language appeared to be saying based on several video clips spanning an 11-year period.

Princes William and Harry were tight in 2009

A YouTube clip from 2009  shows an interview with both brother back when both were still single. Walfish says this footage shows "a powerful brotherly bond of love and affection between William and Harry laced with humor" revealed by "the style in which their smiling eyes connect with mutual knowing [that] indicates a shared private unspoken language." She calls their rapport "a sort of 'you and me against them' approach to the media and public eye."

Walfish does, however, note one exchange in which William refers to having had a talk with Harry's military instructor to which the facial cues given by Harry's reaction seem to show "the look of a mildly naughty little boy who has just discovered he's been checked up on and 'found out' by his authoritarian father." This reaction, according to Walfish, "communicates the multilevel facets that all human interpersonal relationships encompass. That of sibling, parent, caretaker, and so forth." So ... perhaps a little foreshadowing of Harry's later role as the renegade royal, with William the dutiful, disapproving older brother.

Kate showed some tension in 2017

The next interview Walfish analyzed took place in 2017, one year after William and Kate warned Harry about dating divorced American celebrity Meghan Markle. In this particular YouTube clip, William, Kate, and Harry are discussing the mental health initiative they'd launched, and Kate brings up the brothers' close relationship. Walfish says that while their discussion of this topic "seems preplanned and well thought out," both brothers "speak freely and naturally about the bond they share since early childhood and the traumatic loss of their beloved mother."

The Duchess of Cambridge's body language, however, tells a different story. Walfish describes her appearance as "stiff, uptight, and less comfortable," and says "her back posture is seen as straight and stiff as an ironing board. This is not a relaxed physical stance for anyone." She also notes that partway through the interview, "Kate's left hand reach[es] across her chest and hold[s] onto clutching her right upper arm," which she says is "a defensive self-protection stance typical of a person in either an uncomfortable spot or when they are angry about feeling falsely accused."

 Walfish does not, however, speculate on the reason for Kate's discomfort, nor whether it has anything to do with Harry (or Meghan, who was very much in the picture by then). She explains: "I cannot, even as a well seasoned professional psychotherapist, speculate on the real relationships between sibling in-laws unless I know the individuals which, in the case of the Royals, I do not."

Harry gets real and honest in 2019

By 2019, things were starting to head south for the Sussex royals, at least as far as their relationship with the rest of the royal family went. Harry spoke with ITV acknowledging that he and his brother were "on different paths at the moment," and that they were spending less time together because they were "so busy" (despite living in such close proximity as they did pre-Megxit). 

Walfish, again, did not speculate as to the root of any rift between the brothers, but instead stuck to her specialty of analyzing a speaker's body language. During the interview, she said that Harry's "shoulders, neck, arms, and facial muscles read truth-telling and honesty." She also noted "the relaxed way his eyes track movement from side to side," saying that this was indicative of "spontaneous, thoughtful expression that is unrehearsed and unplanned." Another interesting takeaway from Walfish's analysis was the fact that she saw similarities between Harry's communication style and that of his wife's, saying it appeared that the not-yet-former prince had "absorbed and integrated some of his wife's appealing public composure and pose."

Harry looks fearful, while Meghan is calm, in 2020

The final video footage Walfish analyzed was also the final public appearance of the one-time "Fab Four" of William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan. This clip, showing a scene from the March 2020 Commonwealth Day Service, was posted by Royal Central and starts off with Meghan waving happily to Wills and Kate as they arrived at the ceremony (via Twitter). Walfish saw "genuine warm affection in the Duchess's relaxed face and body posture," and said that Harry also seemed to display an equal amount of warmth and affection, but "his shoulders appear to carry a slight bit of tension indicating ... that he is not as cool, calm, collected, and in control as Meghan looks." She later noted that she saw "fear in his eyes" in all of the pictures of him taken on that occasion.

Walfish did not discuss how William and Kate responded to Meghan and Harry at the event, merely saying of the Duchess of Cambridge that "from the moment Kate seats her facial expression and body language become benign and blank ... It's hard to know if she's feeling happy, sad, fighting physical pain, or containing excitement. She has learned to play the Royal game of masking true emotions and putting on a public face." Walfish has much more to say about Meghan and Harry, however, calling them "a united, bonded couple — a Oneship ... bonded by the firm, loving clasp of their two hands holding together."