Body Language Expert Discusses Harry's Emotional Rollercoaster In PDA Video - Exclusive

As is typical of the British royal family's love lives, much has been made of Prince Harry's relationship with Meghan Markle over the last few years. From the first, critics have painted the former actress as a pushy American outsider, and she has done little to assuage their fears. When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex relinquished their royal duties and started a new life in Southern California, many saw it as a sign that the prince was being manipulated by a wife who had never intended to conform to palace life.

Eyebrows really went skyrocketing, however, over a video of Harry and Meghan taken during their recent trip to New York. They attended a session of the United Nations to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day. The prince delivered the keynote speech, which included a declaration about realizing Meghan was his "soulmate" during their pre-engagement trip to Africa. Following the speech, cameras caught what appeared to be an awkward moment between the couple, according to Newsweek. After holding hands with Meghan for a few seconds, Harry is seen pulling his hand away. She responds by pulling his arm back toward her and cradling it with both arms. 

In a widely shared tweet, a commenter posted the video and said, "Something is very wrong here." But is it? The List spoke exclusively to a body language expert who breaks down the moment.

What does this viral video of Harry and Meghan really mean?

The List spoke to Mark Bowden, a renowned body language expert and author who offers coaching on communication skills through his company, TRUTHPLANE. Reflecting on the much-discussed U.N. moment between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, he offered insight on what their actions said about the couple. "The interaction begins before this Twitter edit with both relaxed and talking with each other and smiling as a member of the public photographs them," he says. "Meghan takes Harry's hand, and he looks away to shade his expression from her." 

Bowden notes that Harry's face appeared tense, but that doesn't necessarily mean he was unhappy with his wife. "This could be that he is not comfortable being photographed by this public in this situation with such an intimate gesture," he says. Bowden adds that the prince may have wanted to appear more professional, given the United Nations setting.

Harry's left hand, which remained on his left knee, remained still and relaxed, with the fingers splayed. "This can denote that he still has some level of confidence and comfort with holding her hand," Bowden says.

Why did Prince Harry pull his hand away?

Analyzing the moment in which Prince Harry pulled his hand away from wife Meghan Markle, body language expert Mark Bowden says it sends a mixed message. "As [Harry's] eye contact and attention shifts away and locks to another point in the environment, he disengages his hand with Meghan," he tells The List exclusively. "This could be a measure to be ready for other elements in the environment with both hands and more full attention and capacity. However, Meghan counters this by taking control of the forearm and the hand and moving it into her more intimate territory."

Bowden, who offers his expertise on The Behavior Panel YouTube channel, notes that Harry adjusted the left side of his jacket after Meghan took his right arm. "This adaptation of the clothing can denote discomfort with this more extreme and overt display of control," Bowden says. "He drops his eyes and shifts in his chair which may further indicate an unease with the situation."

But a moment later, the camera clearly shows that Harry squeezes Meghan's hand. Bowden explains that this indicates an acknowledgement of the couple's intimacy. The prince might not like having his arm pulled in public, but he still feels comfortable enough for other types of PDA.

Was Harry's mind on something stressful?

In the viral Harry and Meghan video, body language expert Mark Bowden notes that shortly after the prince pulled his hand away, he was filmed moving his tongue around his mouth. "This can often be done as internal thoughts are being dealt with and a release of stress around them," Bowden notes. "Has something in that space triggered his attention away from Meghan that she then soothes him around and he considers his thoughts about it? Or is it some current thoughts in his mind that she is aware of?"

Although Bowden didn't mention anything specific that could be on the Duke of Sussex's mind, one wonders if he might be concerned about a recent bit of news. Royal biographer Tom Bower has announced he is writing a bombshell book about Harry and Meghan that could destroy their rep and estrange them even further from Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Prince William. At a time when olive branches are slowly being extended on both sides, a dirt-filled bestseller could potentially destroy the fragile peace for good.

Meghan is then seen looking down briefly before raising her chin. Bowden says this could indicate she was a bit rattled by Harry's reaction, but then "resolved that it is the right thing." Did she realize that the prince might need a moment to chill?

Harry and Meghan's unlocked hands sent a message

TRUTHPLANE's Mark Bowden went on to explain to The List that after Prince Harry pulled away from Meghan Markle's attempt at intimacy, their hands sent a message about their frame of mind.  "Their hands now apart, he soothes by moving the ring on his finger," says Bowden. It's a familiar gesture that Prince Charles, Prince Philip, and Lord Mountbatten were also wont to do to show their status as senior members of the British royal family. "[Harry] then creates a steeple with his fingers for a status display at the same time protecting his groin area," Bowden goes on. "Both these suggest an unease with the situation where a display of status is necessary to secure comfort."

As the video goes on, Meghan strokes Harry's arm with her right hand while her left hand covers her right forearm. Bowden explains that this is a self-soothing gesture on her part.  "Both may be locked into a pattern of discomfort right now," Bowden says. 

Could that viral Harry and Meghan video tell only part of the story?

The viral United Nations video certainly seems to suggests that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex might be experiencing some tension in their relationship. Body language expert Mark Bowden tells The List that Harry's grimacing expression "possibly" indicates his feelings about their marriage."[I]f that is the case it does not predict a positive long term outcome," he says. "But the potential contempt may be for another external or internal situation that he is having to accept."

Or are we seeing only part of the bigger picture? Another Twitter user posted a different segment of the Harry and Meghan video, which seems to tell a very different story. Here, we see the prince reach over and place his hand on Meghan's knee, keeping it there even as he turns to look at someone behind him. The two also exchange warm smiles as they look into each other's eyes. 

Noting that the viral video appears to have been edited, the commenter said, "These are two people whose beginnings are from two different universes. ...[Meghan] is obviously a woman who knows what she wants. If you don't agree with her politics, that's fine, if he is submissive to her, that is their business, but to promote a narrative based on a fake video is to lower oneself to the standards of the propagandists that have criminally interfered with our lives for over 2 years."