What Body Language Experts Noticed About Harry & William During Philip's Funeral Procession

The death of Prince Philip, even though not unexpected at his age, nevertheless came as a blow to the royal family at a time when they've been under a great deal of strain. Perhaps the biggest problem faced by the royals of late has been the backlash stemming from Megxit, not the least being all those bombs lobbed by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, during last month's Oprah tell-all.

Needless to say, when Prince Harry decided to man up and attend his grandpa's funeral despite his plummeting popularity in his native land, it prompted a lot of speculation as to how awkward the situation would be. People wondered how the estranged brothers, William and Harry, would interact, although palace aides told the Daily Mail that both brothers "wish to focus on mourning their grandfather and do not want anything to get in the way of that." These same aides, however, also described the tension in the palace as they found themselves "walking on eggshells," not wanting to come under fire from supporters of either Team William/Kate or Team Harry/Meghan.

Well, words (especially words from other horses' mouths) can only tell us so much, so The List turned to a couple of body language experts — Joseph Hoelscher, managing attorney at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC, and psychotherapist Jennifer Tomko, the owner of Clarity Health Solutions in Jupiter, Fla. — to get their take on what the two princes may really have been feeling during the funeral procession.

The two princes matched their pace

Hoelscher first pointed out the fact that as they walked behind the casket, William and Harry were "noticeably farther apart than the rest of the procession," although he did not speculate as to the reason behind this. We can't help but think, though, that memories of a similar, even sadder walk they took 24 years ago may have crossed both their minds. After all, when their mother, Princess Diana, was laid to rest, it was their grandfather Prince Philip who accompanied both young boys on that unbelievably painful occasion.

Something else Hoelscher (and the rest of the world) couldn't have helped but notice was the fact that there was "another person almost between [the two princes] but slightly further back." He admitted that he wasn't sure why this was, but supposed it was some sort of protocol — this turns out to have been the case, since Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne, occupied that position due to his age and his place in the family as another one of the Duke of Edinburgh's grandsons. Still, Hoelscher found it interesting that both princes were "consistently forward of [Phillips], as though they are setting their pace against each other."

Harry seemed to be asserting himself

Returning to the subject of the man we now know to be Phillips, Hoelscher remarked that "the guy in the middle kept dropping back" and interpreted his actions to mean that he may have felt uncomfortable at coming between the two brothers despite where the Lord Chamberlain's Office (via the Daily Mail) told him he should be walking.

Hoelscher did say, though, that both princes are military veterans, so both would have been drilled in marching and learned that you should always guide off the person marching to your right. This would mean that Harry would be setting his pace against his brother, but Hoelscher felt that Harry, "despite the fact that he is on lowest place in terms of protocol since stepping back," was stepping forward in order to "assert... himself." Phillips, aka the poor unfortunate "guy in the middle," Hoelscher saw to have "sense[d] some tension which causes[d] him to hesitate to step up."

William was the more stoic of the two brothers

Tomko focused her attention less on how the princes were walking and more on what their facial expressions might have been conveying. "Throughout the procession," she told us, "we could see the personalities of brothers." Every time the cameras captured William, she says we say the future king "being the stoic and dutiful gentleman."

With Harry, however, it was a different story. While he, too, was dutiful, as witness the fact that he flew back from California and waited out the required COVID quarantine period in order to attend the funeral, Tomko says she saw the Duke of Sussex "showing some personality as he glances around at times showing his curiosity and being more natural to himself."

Yet another body language expert, relationship coach Nicole Moore, also noticed Harry's eye movement in contrast to the rest of the family having their eyes looking straight ahead or reverently cast down. Her interpretation was that Harry's looking skyward was perhaps conveying his desire to escape from an uncomfortable situation or else experiencing a sad memory of his late mother.