By Amy Hunt
Earlier this week, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex took part in her very first, solo royal engagement, without her husband Prince Harry by her side.
Beforehand, the Duchess had only taken part in duties alongside Harry, or other members of the royal family.
But when Meghan headed to the Royal Academy on Wednesday for an Oceania exhibition, she was flying solo - on a year to the day that she and Harry made their very first public appearance together.
And far from being nervous or anxious about her first engagement alone, author and body language analyst Judi James revealed that working alone marked the return of 'Hollywood Meghan' - completely in her comfort zone.
Judi revealed to Woman & Home online, "It's clear from these poses that Meghan was completely within her comfort zone at her first individual appearance as a royal.
"When she was first engaged to Harry we saw a confident, eloquent woman with a passion for causes and making a difference around the world."
However, Judi noted that earlier this year, Meghan's confidence was knocked slightly, as she got used to the rules of her new public life.
She revealed, "Those signals of confidence were only slightly eroded by her need to create some double act choreography with her new husband on their public appearances, plus her need to adhere to all the protocol rules of royal life."
But on Meghan's individual appearance, Judi stated that she was back to the 'Hollywood Meghan' known before her days as a royal - opening herself up to the camera and exhibiting very few signs of nerves.
Judi said, "Working alone though we can see the return of the Hollywood Meghan with some self-effacing gestures to ensure she still looks accessible. Her wave to the press is more red carpet than royal, with a backward bend of the hand and a direct eye gaze and smile that would create rapport via these tie-signs.
"She strode from the car, closing the door herself rather than waiting for flunkies and used only a few hair touches to suggest anything other than happy confidence."
Body language expert Judi also revealed that Meghan was very comfortable taking part in the traditional Maori greeting of nose-rubbing - showing a genuine interest in the culture behind it.
"Meghan is also using an immersive approach to her appearances. She engages hosts in intense conversations and seems genuinely interested in their causes.
"Her nose-rub greeting here looked very much as though she had taken the ritual seriously, Her thumb is in the clamp position in the clasp, suggesting confidence and she uses eye contact as she makes contact. Her smile involves raised rounded cheeks that signal genuine approval rather than embarrassment."
Judi also noted that Meghan actually appears to function at her best when working solo - and seems far more comfortable than her sister-in-law Catherine ever did at the beginning of her royal lfe.
She confessed, "This solo version of Meghan seems to be the actress and campaigner at her best. Unlike Kate who was thrown into the deep end with very little experience of hard-core networking, Meghan takes the duck to water approach that shows her in her element."
Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at womanandhome.com, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly, Goodto.com, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on womanandhome.com. She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.
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