That the Queen has already invited Meghan Markle on a solo royal visit, as well as sharing the royal train, speaks volumes about how well the new Duchess of Sussex is integrating into the royal family. On their trip, the two looked like they were having a fabulous time of it all day, opening a bridge, attending performances, and having lunch, and I wanted to delve a bit deeper into it. With body language and signals a real giveaway into emotions and feelings, I asked body experts what the Meghan Markle and The Queen's behaviour today could tell us about their relationship. Plenty, as it turns out.
Dr Peter Collett is a body language expert and former staffer at the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, and his views on the situation are clear. "We know this is an unprecedented move on the Queen's part, so it has special significance. It's quite clear she's taken with Meghan. That's partly because her prime concern is the continuation of the royal family and Meghan is palpably committed to that. Every inch of her speaks support for the royal family. I say that, because looking at her behaviour, she's always watching to see what's happening. She moves fairly quickly and she does the right thing in terms of royal protocol. She does the duchess stance, and is very much aware of what to do with her legs, and wasn't formerly, which is a royal marker."
He goes on, "when she's with the Queen, she's extremely solicitous without being overly so. She presses the charm button. Notice the way she positions her hand: trying to mimic. When Meghan has her hand up, that's a real giveaway. She's good at synchronising her moves. She envelopes people, being a brilliant actor, but she's not just acting, I think she is genuinely thrilled by the occasion and by the flattery implicit in the invitation. It looks like a granny and granddaughter outing together, they look terribly familiar. They're both smiling, and you look at that, and think they must have known each other for yonks," he says.
Collett continues, "they've short-circuited the process of 'getting to know you.' Meghan is so keen to be close to the Queen, she's on the edge of the seat, and the ankle cross: it's all about unconscious mimicry. People who are like-bodied are like-minded and vice versa. They both have their hands in same clasp. It could be entirely subconscious, but maybe with an inkling of consciousness," he says.
Body language expert Judi James agrees that the two looked thrilled to be in each other's company. "The queen looked delighted to have Meghan standing next to her. It's nice to see, because during the wedding, the Queen finds it inappropriate to smile in church, so looked a bit dour, but not today. She didn't fuss over Meghan, relying on the fact that Meghan is a grown woman and can cope well, but every time she looked over, she threw her an approving smile."
James also believes that Meghan was nervous, and understandably so. "This is a woman who we watched walk herself up the aisle without a single sign of nervousness in her body language, but today she clearly did feel anxious. I think that showed from the moment she stepped off the train: she looked timid. Later, when the two were sitting together, Meghan performed classic anxiety self-touches and self-reassurance, like touching her hair, touching her bag, touching the cape on her dress, placing her bag on the floor, trying to clasp her hands. These are all truncated gestures: none achieved anything. It's interesting because that anxiety when sitting next to the Queen is seen in all the Windsor men apart from Philip, too."
Essentially, Meghan was a bit nervous with the eyes of the world on her, but the two get on brilliantly. "At one point, they both started laughing at the show and the Queen had her hands bunched in little fists. She looked like Princess Charlotte, so wonderfully childlike," James says. "She and Meghan looked like teenagers giggling together at one point. There's potential for not just a grandmother in law, but friendship growing as well," she finishes.
Swoon, swoon, and more swoon. Is it weird this may be my favourite royal couple?