Body Language Expert Was Surprised Queen Elizabeth Did This During Prince Philip's Funeral

Prince Philip's funeral, although tiny, was nevertheless full of pomp and pageantry befitting the passing of the longest-serving royal consort. There was lovely music performed by a choir (a chamber choir, in this instance); a piper playing the last post and chorus; and despite having been warned to stay away due to ever-present COVID danger, crowds still lined the streets, hoping for one last glimpse of their beloved Duke of Edinburgh, a man many considered to be the entire nation's grandpa.

In fact, in one last act of service he performed for his own family, Prince Philip's funeral brought "strayed sheep" Prince Harry back home, if even for a flying visit, and it seems as if he may even have exchanged a few words with his estranged brother. (Grandpa would have been sure to approve.)

The one image that will stay with all of us, however, is that of his widow, the 94-year-old queen, sitting all alone in her pew, head bowed, looking surprisingly small and vulnerable and oh, so heartbreakingly alone despite being the ruler of a nation of over 68 million people (via Worldometer), not to mention assorted realms and territories. Body language expert Jason Lee, a former professional poker player who now works as a relationship science and data analyst with Healthy Framework, noticed one moment during the funeral where the queen did something unexpected. He spoke with The List afterwards, giving his interpretation of what he saw and what he thinks it means.

The queen went off-script for a moment

Lee described the royal funeral as "a scripted and meticulous process," which, indeed, it was. The Daily Mail broke down ahead of time all of the planning that went into it, with the Lord Chamberlain's office arranging each and every step of the funeral procession and determining who would walk/stand/sit where based on "bloodlines and age." Lee, however, well-trained in spotting anomalies by all that time spent playing poker, tells us "it's always interesting to look for anyone deviating from that plan." What intrigued him, amidst all the funeral pageantry, was that moment when he saw HRH "ma[k]e an unscheduled stop to turn and take everything in when she was entering the chapel."

What could she have been thinking, or seeing, as she looked around her? While the ceremony was a small one due to COVID protocols, nevertheless it was one that may have helped (we hope) convey just how much her husband was loved and will be missed by millions who never even met him. Perhaps, instead, she was just looking for some support closer at hand from her children and grandchildren who've put aside their differences to rally round her at this time. Whatever was going through the queen's mind at the time, Lee says that her one off-script moment "shows that while pageantry, pomp, and circumstance are important, it never trumps raw emotion and family."

The queen now faces her deepest sorrow

Although famously stoic in best royal tradition, on one occasion the queen spoke out and delivered a message that The Morton Report described as "curiously personal." In a message she delivered to a memorial ceremony held several days after the 9/11 attacks and meant to commemorate its many victims, Her Majesty used the words "Grief is the price we pay for love." She wasn't just speaking in the abstract, either. Although she felt the pain of this attack on her wayward colony and mourned the tragic loss of life, she herself had lost a close friend that day: Lord Carnarvon, a man she'd known since her childhood days.

How much greater must her grief be now, after losing a husband of more than seven decades? The funeral marked the first time she'd appeared in public since being widowed a week ago. While ABC News royalty consultant Alastair Bruce acknowledged that the funeral itself can be a very challenging time for anyone who's just lost a life partner, he says she may have been comforted by "hav[ing] the chance to be with her family, not be alone, and be in the company of God at the final moment of her husband."

How the queen will carry on without Prince Philip

How will the queen carry on without her lifelong partner? Well, she has one thing going for her that most other nonagenarians do not — all her life, she's been trained in the sense of duty that goes along with being a royal. No matter how devastated she may be at the loss of her husband, she knows what it means to be a ruler of nations, and she'll keep her upper lip as stiff as is humanly possible no matter the pain it may cause her in private.

Still, the queen is not alone in her sorrow. While ABC News says that all four of her children as well as her grandchildren will be supporting her in her royal duties, most of the work will be done by eldest son Charles, next in line for the throne. The future king has been at his mother's side since his father's illness and subsequent death, and he will remain so as he prepares to take up the reins in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, he's providing a strong shoulder for the mourning queen to lean on. "Heavy lies the head that wears the crown," as Shakespeare didn't quite say (the exact words in King Henry IV, Part 2 are "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," a phrase with a slightly different connotation), but a burden shared is, we hope, a somewhat lighter one for the bereaved queen to carry.