All those questions you had about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to take a step back from their duties as senior royals? Oprah asked them for you.
During her two-hour tell-all interview with the couple last night on CBS, she dug deep and asked about the supposed feuds between Meghan and Kate Middleton; Harry and his brother, William; the couple’s relationship with Queen Elizabeth; racism; mental health; their children; and finances. No question seemed to be off-limits.
And, in response, Meghan and Harry cleared up much of the speculation. They opened up about how it is they went from blissfully married royals to living on their own in L.A. in just three years—and all of the struggles they had to quietly endure. In order to protect the reputations of family and palace officials, there were a few times during the interview when the couple provided vague answers. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t reveal a thing or two by way of body language.
“Meghan’s overall body language was filled with poise and precision,” says Karen Donaldson, a body language expert. “We saw it in the way she often looked away and upwards as she answered Oprah’s questions.” She was never defensive and always confident—something made clear by the way she rarely broke eye contact with Oprah as she gave her responses. As for Harry, Donaldson says he shifted from being tense to protective and back again throughout the interview.
The conversation was loaded with lots of revelations, and yet, there’s still more to unpack. Ahead, Donaldson reveals everything else the couple communicated—just non-verbally.
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Meghan took time to think before speaking.
Though Meghan maintained eye contact while answering, before she spoke, she would take a beat to think. Even if it was brief, Donaldson could tell because her eyes were downcast for a second or two before she gave her answer.
“When someone looks away from the person they are speaking to, it tells us that they are concentrating on exactly what they are saying,” Donaldson explained. Meghan was honest, but this gesture means she was also concerned with expressing herself in a way she could be proud of.
Meghan comforted herself as she reflected on the past.
While telling a story about meeting the queen for the first time, Meghan revealed she had no idea how to curtsey and learned only a few minutes beforehand. As she spoke, she rubbed her leg. This might seem like a casual move, but Donaldson says Meghan was actually comforting herself.
“When we rub our extremities, it’s a self-soothing gesture—it’s used to calm ourselves down,” she said. “As Meghan recalls the experience, we can see that it was a highly memorable one that causes strong emotions to still show up, and the leg rub was used to bring her back to a calm state.”
Meghan was transparent while talking about their new life.
When Oprah joined the couple at their chicken coop, Meghan talked about how they’re enjoying living life more authentically. She even revealed that she and Harry actually got married three days before the lavish televised wedding everyone else saw. Meghan flipped her hand over and revealed her palm as she did so—a move Donaldson says reveals someone is being honest.
Harry felt stressed a few times throughout the interview…
Fidgeting is a sign that you’re not at ease, and Harry playing with his ring reflected what was going on inside, says Donaldson. While answering questions about his father and his son, Harry used the move to relieve a bit of tension.
…But he knew he could rely on Meghan.
As his stress built up, Harry would hold Meghan’s hand. This happened for the first time as he spoke about his mother. He clenched Meghan’s fingers, and his knuckles turned white.
“The tighter the handhold, the more we are feeling anxious and looking for reassurance and support,” says Donaldson. “In this moment (and throughout the interview), we saw that Harry was non-verbally seeking support and reassurance from Meghan in the way that he was tightly gripping her hand and she was in turn there giving it to him.”
Harry braced himself for the tough questions.
People lock their ankles in high-stress situations, says Donaldson. It usually happens when they’re bracing for something tough, and that’s exactly what Harry did on more than one occasion.
“Harry sitting in this manner for most of the interview tells us that he was in protection mode throughout,” Donaldson reveals.
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