PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world with their decision to step down as senior royals, less than two years into life as a royal couple.
But according to body language expert Judi James the Sussexes have been giving subtle hints at the power shift from Meghan and Harry since they married.
Here she speaks exclusively to Fabulous Digital about how Meghan eventually took the reins and wore the trousers…
"From her first appearances and interviews as Harry’s bride-to-be there were always underlying body language cues that suggested Meghan was a confident woman with a passion for making a change," Judi explains.
"It continued when she walked down the aisle at her wedding alone in front of the eyes of the world – there were no visible signs of anxiety or nerves.
"Her subtler touch rituals with Harry gave hints of the more profound reasons why he had fallen in love with her.
"As a new member of the royal firm though, Meghan’s more public body language rituals did appear to show it was Harry leading her through all the challenges of her new life, showing a tendency to walk ahead, towing his wife protectively or presenting her to the public with an air of careful concern.
"But as Meghan gained in experience as a royal though it has appeared to be Meghan stepping out centre stage and offering Harry the pats of comfort, love and approval during their public appearances."
We take a look a their power shift over the past 20 months…
THE GALLANT GROOM – May 2018
"Their official wedding poses tended to show Harry taking charge and gallant mode," Judi explains.
"By walking slightly ahead and using the very traditional and rather outdated gentlemanly gesture of holding his hand out and at lower chest height, he allow his bride to walk steadily and supported in her wedding dress and veil.
"His face-watching here suggests ongoing care and concern while Meghan throws him a happy but also shy or coy-looking smile."
ALPHA PRINCE – June 2018
"In his top hat and tails Harry remains in dashing, heroic mode during their visit to the races, walking ahead with a purposeful stride, brandishing his umbrella in one hand and clasping Meghan’s hand with his other," Judi continues.
"His hand is fully on top in this clasp and bend down and backward at the wrist, suggesting he is keen to keep Meghan protected.
"The way his arms are held away from his torso suggests a rather alpha vibe, in contrast with Meghan’s more passive trait of self-diminishing by holding her elbows pressed in towards her torso."
HER CONFIDENCE GROWS – July 2018
"Harry is still using the very ‘gallant’ trait of holding his hand up to apparently steady his wife as he presents her to the public, although with Meghan’s popularity rising rapidly with the public she has begun to step ahead more during their appearances," observes Judi.
"Her eyes pick out the cameras more and her smile suggests an increase in status confidence here."
SHE REMAINS COOL – October 2018
"Meghan walks empty-handed here rather than carrying the small clutch bag the royals are famous for and the way her arms hang down at her sides suggests admirable levels of confidence," Judi notes.
"Her eye contact is on Harry’s face but it doesn’t appear to be a self-conscious checking gesture, more a gesture of reassurance and love for her husband.
"Harry’s back-touch looks like an affectionate steering gesture but he’s also showing some sign of anxiety here with that arm raised in a barrier gesture."
POWER COUPLE – October 2018
"This pose suggests a stage of perfect balance between the couple, who use mirrored poses and sustained eye contact to suggest like-minded thinking and mutual levels of love," Judi explains.
"They are also using the kind of suppressed smiles that suggest share humour too."
"This style of mutual fun signals were always a feature of Harry and William’s relationship when they were close so it was good to see a re-creation of that vibe here between Harry and his wife."
HARRY'S CARING CONCERN -October 2018
"Their eye-gazing signals and smiles during this PDA illustrates the way the couple have always been keen to show the intensity of their love for one another.
"Harry also increased his caring and concerned signals too, with back-rubbing and patting as he looked utterly distracted by his wife."
REASSURANCE SHIFT – February 2019
"This was probably Harry looking his most relaxed, happy and carefree as he strides out with his chest puffed while Meghan clings to his entire arm, gazing up at him adoringly.
"Their hand clasp involves interlaced fingers, which is a signal of intimacy and affection and Meghan has endorsed those sentiments by placing a very caring and reassuring hand on Harry’s arm in an act of endorsement."
ROLE REVERSAL – May 2019
"In the very traditional world of the royals these baby photos revealed a role-reversal," notes Judi.
"With Harry holding Archie and presenting him shyly and nervously to the cameras, Meghan keeps a relatively lower profile, standing behind or alongside Harry giving reassuring strokes and pats to let him know he's doing okay."
SHE CALLS THE SHOTS – September 2019
"In South Africa, Harry was in similar mode, cradling his small son to one side of the shot while Meghan was being interviewed to camera, with Meghan rushing over to perform loving touches on both her men once the interview was ended.
"Meghan is calling the shots here while Harry looked utterly smitten with and overwhelmed by his small son. He's happy to keep a lower profile."
CALM MEG PULLING THE STRINGS – January 2020
"Although Harry did appear to be in bodyguard mode on their most recent outing, his rather watchful approach and his trait of sucking his lips in and performing partial barrier rituals did suggest some inner anxieties.
"He looked like a man who knows a royal storm is about to break out, but despite some wary-looking hair touches on the way into their visit, Meghan looked happy and relaxed.
"She walks upright with her shoulders squared to suggest confidence and wearing what looked like a congruent smile as she greeted their fans."
In other royal news, we shared how The Sun's royal photographer thinks Harry is "doing what he’s told" by Meghan who wanted to get out of the limelight.
And The Sun has learned Harry and Meghan wish to keep Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate and want their security bill paid for.
It's also been claimed that the final straw for Harry and Meghan was the official release of a new royal portrait featuring The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.
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