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Yesterday marked Prince Harry and Meghan's final official engagement as senior working members of the royal family.
The couple – who will make their official departure from ‘The Firm’ on 31st March – joined Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles, Camilla and the Queen at a Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on Monday.
Yesterday’s service signalled the final engagement of what many have dubbed their royal ‘farewell’ tour – the Duke and Duchess have conducted a series of final UK visits over the last week.
But for many royal fans, the Commonwealth Service was one of the most significant, given that it was the first time Harry and Meghan have been seen in public with the rest of the royal family since the news of their stepping down.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex publically announced their intention to step back as senior members of the royal family in January. And since then, they have largely been based in Canada with their 10-month old son Archie, meaning they’ve seen little of the royals.
So what was their public reunion like?
Judi James, a renowned body language expert, shares her view that it marked a sad end to public life together, for brothers William and Harry.
Referencing the moment Harry and Meghan were reunited with Prince William and Catherine as they sat at their seats, she explained, “This moment defined for me a new stage in the tragic narrative that began when Charles married Diana.
“A hug between the two brothers before one sets off to start a new life abroad might just have been too much to expect, but I was scouring every second to spot a secret tie-sign, like raised eyebrows or a small shrug, to illustrate Harry’s claims about brothers falling out but still loving one another. Sadly, there were none between Harry and William.
“Harry produced a warm, friendly and fun open-mouthed smile for Kate, showing the warmth that has always existed between them, but then his smile dropped to a much thinner version when he greeted his brother.
“William turned quickly to take his seat. There was one moment when William turned again and I hoped he was about to chat to Harry but instead he talked to his uncle Edward. The whole moment looked frosty – and appeared to seal the deal that a last-minute reunion was not going to be on the cards.”
Sharing that there also appeared to be a rather awkward moment between Meghan and Catherine, Judi continued, “Meghan smiled and performed a small low wave to Kate but it appeared to take two goes to attract her attention.”
Prince Harry’s body language showed he wasn’t at ease
Judi also shared that Harry appeared to be nervous on his approach to the Abbey, saying, “Harry’s body language here was telling. The moment he dropped the handclasp with Meghan, his gestures showed his unease.
“He grabbed at his wedding ring as though already missing Meghan although she was still at his side, and he performed a jacket-clasp gesture that brought his arm up as a barrier, hinting at a desire to hide. His facial expression showed his inner tension and it wasn’t until he approached his hosts that produced a slewed, half-smile.”
But it appears that one the event was over – and so then, his and Meghan’s life as royal family members – Harry seemed much more relaxed and playful, Judi notes.
“Once the service was over and William and Kate were in their car again, we got treated to a glimpse of the jauntier, fun Harry again.
“Having not really smiled at or touched his own brother, he was super-animated and tactile with Craig David, while Meghan leant an arm out to touch Anthony Joshua on the arm. Harry carried on joking outside the Abbey and it took one touch on the back from Meghan to move him on from the queue in the Abbey.”
Meghan’s outfit choice shows confidence
Body language expert Judi also explained that Meghan’s bold outfit colour choices – including the green gown from the service – over the last week prove that she was feeling strong and confident, as they ultimately said their goodbyes to their old life in the UK.
“Like the stunning red dress, she wore on their previous outing, Meghan’s choice of strong block colours does suggest she’s been here on this trip as a star in her own right. She’s worn confident, statement dressing that suggests no desire to keep a low profile or hide.
“But there was one interesting cue that nearly got missed”, Judi told us – the way that Harry and Meghan’s outfits have matched over the last few days. She explained, “Like the way that her red dress toned with Harry’s uniform to create the look of a celebrity power-couple – and the lining of Harry’s suit was the exact shade of emerald green as his wife’s outfit to the Abbey.”