Meghan Markle and Prince Harry showed baby Sussex to the world on May 8, 2019 during a photo-call at Windsor Castle.
A body language expert tells MarieClaire.com that Meghan was experiencing physical discomfort, according to the position of her feet, but she held herself together beautifully.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's photo-call with their first newborn was quite different from Prince William and Kate Middleton's, as well as Prince Charles and Princess Diana's.
Two days after his birth, baby Sussex made his official debut in the arms of the cutest parents ever, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, during a photo-call in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Meghan and Harry strayed from royal tradition and waited a couple of days to show their baby to the world, rather than posing on the steps of the hospital hours later, as Kate Middleton and Princess Diana have done in the past.
Naturally, with such differences in protocol (and outfit choices!), it's interesting to see how the royals' photo-call's compare-specifically when it comes to their body language. Patti Wood, body language expert and author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, tells MarieClaire.com that despite Meghan holding herself together beautifully, you could tell there was a bit of physical discomfort going on.
“If you look at Meghan's feet, her toes are together and there's arcing around the feet. The reason that's striking is because that's always the most honest emotion. That’s not how she usually stands, but it makes perfect sense because she just had a baby a few days ago," Wood explains. "The rest of her is so happy and so composed you’d have difficulty knowing she just went through this big event. It's just the sweet little tell in the feet of this otherwise beautifully-composed and happy woman. It looks like a spring day and it’s her wedding-she's glowing-but she just had a baby and she’s not super comfortable."
Wood also mentions Meghan's smile is slightly crooked as she holds her physical discomfort together for these photos. Of course, she's doing it like a pro knowing these photos are going to be seen around the world. Meanwhile, Harry's over here looking mature as ever with a need to slightly touch Meghan with his elbow, despite carrying their baby in his arms.
"I love that his elbow is up against her like that, that he has to touch her in someway since he can't do the normal touch. It’s really sweet. It looks like she has her arm behind him. I love how gentle his hands look: One is holding the baby firmly and the other is anchoring underneath and lifting up his new baby. If you look at his face, he has a strength to that smile. It’s really the first time I’ve seen a different level of maturity and strength in him, which makes perfect sense. You see a little bit of fatigue in the eyes, but there's just something there that wasn't there before."
Wood notices in more photos that Meghan can't help but touch the baby as well, despite her attempt at making the photos as formal as possible. She also says Meghan touching Harry's arm, her head titled down, and him looking at her are all signs of sweetness and tenderness. "The fingers are out and stretching toward the baby, which simply means 'I just have to do it no matter what they say.' She has to reach out and touch that baby."
"I love that she has her arm back around him and she can’t take her eyes off the baby in the photo of them walking towards the cameras. In that picture, Harry's being very, very careful. There’s tension in his mouth that shows his care. He's carrying his baby for one of the first few times. I can tell it’s from the care because of the tension in his hands and in his legs and the way his shoulders are arched slightly forward to hold the baby. He wants to do the right thing and be careful."
As we all know, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have taken a much more modern approach to their royal lifestyle, and it's telling when you compare the photos of Princess Diana and Prince Charles with Prince William in 1982, and Kate Middleton and Prince William with Prince George in 2013.
"Do you see how Diana's shoulders are tilted down to her husband and the baby? They’re not standing close together, but she’s titled down, so there’s a mismatch between how she feels about [Charles] and how she knows she has to be for the photos. I would often see this type of body language in photos of her throughout the years. There was always tension."
The baby's hold is different on Charles' part as well, according to Wood. The baby's head isn't near his heart like it is in Harry and Meghan's photos. Charles' fingers are bent and not rounded, which is a sign of tension. "The baby's head is back. It’s a more natural position to put the baby’s head near the heartbeat," says Wood. "He's just not in touch with the baby to figure out that there’s an awkwardness there."
Back in 2013 when Prince George was born, Kate's fingers were relaxed and stretched out to hold him as securely as possible. "The baby’s head isn’t awkward. Look at her smile-it was so huge," says Wood. "I like that William's arm is around her securely. The upper torso is slightly oriented towards her. He’s showing more tension in his smile and his gaze, but she’s very happy and serene."
In other words, there was a lot of love going around today for Harry and Meghan, as there was for Kate and William with their first newborn. Congrats to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!
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