Prince Harry and Meghan Markle body language expert analyses Time 100

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle painted themselves as ‘intellectuals’ and chose ‘enigmatic’ gestures when talking about running for political office, body language expert claims

  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex hosted a special edition of TIME 100 Talks 
  • Body language expert Judi James analysed their behaviour for FEMAIL 
  • Said they used ‘enigmatic’ gestures when talking about holding political office
  • Also wanted to paint themselves as ‘intellectuals’ who are ‘deep thinkers’ 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to paint themselves as ‘deep thinkers’ and were deliberately enigmatic when talking about holding political office during a virtual round-table discussion, a body language expert has claimed. 

Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan Markle, 39, hosted a special edition of TIME100 Talks about the ‘state of our digital experience’ yesterday, tuning in from their $14million Santa Barbara mansion. 

Analysing their behaviour for FEMAIL, body language expert Judi James explained they tried new ‘intellectual’ gestures, with Prince Harry stroking his beard while Meghan listened with a hand resting under her chin. 

Elsewhere, during a discussion on the power of holding political office, Meghan and Harry broke into non-committal smiles in a way that suggested they didn’t want to communicate their true feelings on the issue. It comes after the couple came under fire for wading into politics when they urged US citizens to register to vote. 

And although Prince Harry is becoming more comfortable in front of the camera, it is his former actress wife who continues to shine and ‘host’ the segments, while Harry has a tendency to become fidgety and unfocused when Meghan is speaking. 

Here, Judi offers her detailed analysis of key points in the Sussexes’ latest on camera appearance… 

REFUSING TO DISMISS POLITICAL AMBITIONS 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remained enigmatic when the topic of holding political office came up during yesterday’s Time 100 Talk (pictured), with both displaying matching smiles

The couple, pictured, flashed their smiles following rumours Meghan wants to enter politics

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently came under fire for encouraging US citizens to register to vote, breaking the tradition of the royal family remaining neutral in all political matters. 

Subsequent reports suggested Meghan Markle, 39, could even have her sights set on running for political office. 

The couple’s behaviour last night did nothing to dispel these rumours.  

Judi James said: ‘Perhaps one of the most telling pieces of body language from the power couple came when they received an almost open invitation to pitch themselves for high political office. 

‘With rumours that Meghan could perhaps harbour White House-style ambitions, the moment to drop a non-verbal hint came when one of their guests promoted the idea of people getting “politically engaged and run for office themselves.” 

‘The couple’s response came after what looked like a time-delay of a few seconds before even Harry managed a poker-face option, applying an identical, enigmatic-looking rounded-cheek beam as his wife.’

PORTRAYING THEMSELVES AS INTELLECTUALS

At one point, when Harry was speaking to two of the invited guests, Meghan rested her hand beneath her chin while looking at her husband. This is an example of an ‘intellectual’ gesture

Both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gesticulated heavily throughout the discussion, Judi James noted, including introducing new types of gestures. 

At one point, when Harry was speaking to two of the invited guests, Meghan rested her hand beneath her chin while looking at her husband. Harry also stroked his beard and touched his chin in classic ‘thinking’ poses. 

Judi explained this is new territory for the couple. 

‘There were signs that the couple are moving into more deep-thinking and intellectual waters than Harry possibly encountered during his time spent in royal palaces. 

‘The chin-stroke or touch is a gesture often linked to a more intellectual approach and while Harry stroked his beard at one point, Meghan listened to him while adopting the gesture of resting her chin on the knuckles of one hand.’

‘TENSE’ AND FIDGETING HARRY vs MEGHAN THE ‘HOST’ 

While Prince Harry speaks Meghan watches and nods to register support and agreement. Her loyalty levels look high, even during some of her husband’s more rambly moments 

When Harry is not in speak mode though, Harry performs a stream of fidgets (pictured), ranging from eye-stutters, sucking and chewing his lips, that threaten to undermine Meghan

Judi said: ‘As a hosting double-act as they were last night, Harry and Meghan have few moments of book-end mirroring and more moments of contrasting body language rituals. Overall, Meghan exudes firmness, calm and caring, delivering her views with minimal movement to distract from her eloquence. 

‘Harry, meanwhile, is all coiled spring, looking more like a guy keen to get all the long chats over and get out there and do something physical to make change.

‘While he speaks Meghan watches and nods to register support and agreement. Her loyalty levels look high, even during some of her husband’s more rambly moments, although at one point she does some fast, staccato nodding to signal he should let her take over.

‘When Harry is not in speak mode though, he performs a stream of fidgets, ranging from eye-stutters, sucking and chewing his lips, fiddling with his ring, face-scratching, and pulling at his shirt and his jacket.

‘Some heavy swallowing and the eye-stutters suggest tension or anxiety is making his mouth dry and his adrenalin rise. The clothing tugging suggests he is very concerned how he is coming across and self-correcting his appearance, maybe even studying himself on the screen first. If they were professional TV hosts he might need to tone his rituals down as they can upstage his wife when she is speaking. Her calm listening style is much more professional.’

PRINCE HARRY TRIES HARD TO IMPRESS 

Prince Harry brings a huge amount of energy when trying to engage. Pictured, hosting his solo portion of the discussion

However when speaking Harry also fidgets (pictured, adjusting his trouser leg), which can make it look as though he feels uncomfortable or is trying to impress, Judi noted 

Prince Harry led his own portion of the discussion but took a while to find his feet without the guidance of his wife. 

Judi said: ‘When Harry speaks he displays his energy and passion by throwing himself literally into his causes, using large, high and very emphatic or illustrative gesticulation as he speaks. Harry throws both hands about in a non-stop burst of energy and desire to persuade and energise his audience.

‘This more action-man approach reverts to the distracted fidgeting when he is in screen-saver repose mode, though. 

‘The two versions of Harry make him seem uncomfortable, as though he is maybe trying too hard to impress before worrying about his own delivery.’

PRINCE HARRY’S DEFENSIVENESS  

The ‘calm’ Meghan versus the ‘coiled spring’ Harry is visible at the very start of their talk, Judi explained. Prince Harry felt the need to list his credentials at the start of the discussion

Judi said: ‘The ‘calm’ Meghan versus the ‘coiled spring’ Harry is visible at the very start of their talk when Harry sits, shiny-faced and with his eyes looking down and his body scrunched beside Meghan, whose eye-smile to camera and perfect mouth-smile suggests ‘I’ve got this’. 

‘This contrast between the two styles is reflected in their choices of words, too. Meghan displays her own passion via what is at times a sense of sadness and even distress, using eye-closed moments of reflection and emotion as she speaks about the problems of social media and placing her hands on her chest to suggest she is speaking from experience and from the heart. 

‘Her words are as calm but also as powerful as her movements, combining empathy with some memorable sound-bites as take-aways.

‘Harry is less structured and his speech is less controlled, with more verbal fillers. He does seem to feel the need to pitch his own ‘qualifications’ at the start, telling us about his twelve years working on environmental issues, and this could suggest he feels defensive, like the newbie against Meghan’s life of empathy and personal experience and campaigning.

‘There is an emphatic narrative of like-minded collusion and a desire to be seen as a very equal team of two from them both, though. Meghan even refers to ‘Both of us realised’ etc as though they work and think as one.’

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