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What Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's body language says about their relationship

It's the small gestures that carry big meaning, as a body language expert explained

Rachel Hosie
Friday 18 May 2018 10:45 BST
Meghan and Harry lovingly mess about during their first interview

With all eyes on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the run-up to the royal wedding, interest in the soon-to-be royal couple is reaching fever pitch.

Whilst no one can really know what’s going on between two people in private, body language experts are able to pick up subtle clues that reveal a lot about a couple’s relationship.

There’s no denying Harry and Meghan appear completely loved-up, but do their bodies reflect this? We asked body language expert and ‘human lie detector’ Darren Stanton to analyse the royal couple and give his expert verdict.

“I have been writing about and analysing the pair for some time now, and what’s been clear from the outset is that their love and respect for each other is genuine from their non-verbal behaviour,” Stanton told The Independent.

“When people are getting on well either as friends, colleagues or as romantic partners, we see a naturally occurring process called matching and mirroring.

“It’s when two or more people match each other’s postures, gestures and behaviours. The pair are very much in this state a lot of the time indicating genuine deep rapport between the two.”

What Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s body language reveals about their relationship:

The engagement interview

Royal Wedding: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first interview

The full interview Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave to the BBC’s Mishal Husain now has over 2,300,000 views, but we can infer as much from the couple’s body language as what they said.

“I saw lots of really nice moments in this interview,” says Stanton.

“Meghan clasps Harry’s hand throughout the interview, it’s like she doesn't want to lose touch with him for a second.”

There’s also lots of gazing into each other’s eyes - while normal eye contact lasts for three to five seconds, Stanton explains that prolonged eye contact is reserved for those we truly love (or are about to fight, but we can presume the former in this instance).

“It’s clear from that gesture alone the two are truly in love and besotted with each other,” Stanton adds.

He also points out how Meghan took the lead: “Meghan is a fantastic communicator and seems so much more confident at times than Harry, but she looks at Harry after answering a question to gain confirmation he’s happy too.”

For his part, Harry’s body language reflects what he’s saying, but there are moments where the prince is seen biting his lip. “This is a classic nervous gesture so at certain times he might have felt some of the questions a little too personal,” Stanton suggests.

“Overall, it’s clear they are very much in love and have mutual and utter respect for each other.”

The engagement interview outtakes

Meghan and Harry lovingly mess about during their first interview

Although there’s not much to go on, the short amount of footage released of the royal couple joking around and being themselves during the engagement interview arguably reveals more about their relationship than the official footage.

“I think this is a great clip because we are so used to only seeing footage and photos of the royal family in very controlled circumstances,” Stanton points out. “Most photos are carefully staged and managed and this just shows a couple in their 30s very in love just messing around having fun.”

“I think it’s clear that Meghan appears very good for Harry, she certainly seems the more confident and relaxed in front of the camera for obvious reasons. But I think being seen as ‘human’ only seeks to strengthen their popularity with the public.”

Royal visits

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle carry out first royal engagement together

From Nottingham to Belfast, Harry and Meghan have already undertaken various official engagements despite being yet to tie the knot.

Stanton has noticed that when out in public, Harry adopts a similar technique as his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, known as the “reassurance gesture.” It’s believed that both Harry and William inherited the gesture from their father, the Prince of Wales.

The reassurance gesture is essentially resting one hand on top of your stomach and tucking it inside your suit jacket.

“In the Nottingham visit, I noted Meghan placing the flat of her hand on Harry’s back as if to reassure him too,” Stanton says.

She does this regularly as if to say, “It’s OK, you’re doing well.” But Stanton says she does this “not in a condescending way, but it’s a way of subtly keeping a physical connection there.

“It’s also called a power pat which is often done by politicians such as Donald Trump, it’s saying ‘I’m in charge’.”

Stanton believes the couple’s smiles are completely genuine: “A smile is the most faked emotion which can can conceal or mask boredom, fatigue or anxiety, but all of the footage I have seen of the royal couple comes over as being very genuine.”

This article has been updated. It was originally published in April 2018.

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