The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s encounter with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was not a “warm reunion”, a body language expert has said,
Judi James said Harry was tense during the Commonwealth Service, and his smile towards his brother William was more rigid than towards Kate.
It was the first time the Sussexes had appeared in public alongside the Cambridges and the rest of the royals since their bombshell Megxit announcement.
The Commonwealth Day event in Westminster Abbey marked their final public duty as senior royals.
Ms James told the PA news agency: “It wasn’t the warm reunion that we were all hoping for.
“The tension in Harry’s body language especially was palpable.
“When he arrived, the minute he and Meghan had to drop hands, he immediately reached for his wedding ring which is a self comfort.
“Even when she was beside him after they had stopped holding hands, he was missing her needing her support.”
Ms James said Harry also clutched his jacket, signalling he was forming a partial barrier.
She added: “As Harry walked up the aisle, they both waved at the children, but his face otherwise was quite tense and unsmiling.
“William and Kate were almost the exact opposite. They looked very relaxed and there was no sign of tension.
“The Cambridges chatted together a lot, which helped them quite a bit.”
As the Cambridges took their seats in the row in front of the Sussexes, Meghan was seen to mouth “hi” and give a small wave to William and Kate, followed by a “hello”.
Harry also said “hello” and smiled at his brother with closed lips.
Edward partly rose to greet the Cambridges, but Sophie and the Sussexes remained seated.
Ms James described the meeting between William and Kate and Harry and Meghan as a “rather odd greeting ritual”.
“Harry and Meghan looked a lot more genuinely cheerful, and Harry, especially through a really affectionate smile at Kate,” Ms James suggested.
“But when it was William you could see Harry was slightly more rigid and his lips were closed.”
She described how Harry appeared to find his final engagement poignant and moving.
“At one point he was just staring ahead and then looking at the floor and I think he found it very difficult.
“I mean, it must have been such a poignant moment for him to be sitting, facing the backs of the heads of all the people in his family that he used to be close to and knowing that he was about to leave,” she said.
Ms James said the monarch gave no clues as to her own emotions on the day.
“The Queen will never give any clues away about her body language. She’s a perfect performer,” she said.