Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Wedding Day Body Language

How the royal couple were really feeling before, during, and after the nuptials.
PHOTO: Getty Images

For any bride and groom, their wedding day is nerve-wracking, exciting, overwhelming, and just a little bit scary all at the same time. 

Now imagine being the couple with the most talked about wedding in years. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at St. George's Chapel in Windsor on May 19, in front of a congregation including Serena Williams, Victoria and David Beckham, George and Amal Clooney, and pretty much the entire cast of Suits. Meghan wore a custom Givenchy, and she and Harry beamed from ear to ear before kissing in front of the crowd when the ceremony was over.

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While we can make assumptions as to how the couple felt before, during, and after the service, body language expert Judi James told Harper's Bazaar just what their movements and expressions reveal about how they were feeling.


Prince Harry had to wait at least half an hour for his to blushing bride-to-be, and during those moments he was understandably nervous and emotional.

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"Like many extroverted guys who are normally the life and soul of any party, Harry's body language on his own big day suggested a man shocked and overwhelmed by the strength of his own emotions," James says. "He attempted some minor fight-backs with the odd grin and face-pulling at his family in the pews but the smiles were lightning smiles, appearing and disappearing far too quickly to be congruent. His more frequent and lasting expressions ranged from high levels of anxiety to deep, besotted love, plus a wide-eyed look of loss when his mother's sister did a reading.

"When Harry first emerged from the car, his short walk was peppered with over a dozen gestures: hand rituals like hand-wringing, glove-fiddling, and coat-tugging that normally suggest anxiety or nerves, while his lip-licking would normally suggest a dry mouth caused by the same."


As we've seen before in their engagement photocall and interview, it often seems to be the former Suits actress who is the more calm and relaxed one of the couple during these intensely public moments. James says her confidence and poise were "formidable" today.

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"Her solo arrival and her mother's tears behind her could both have been cues for some signs of nerves or sadness but she did the whole ceremony with confidence and a sense of loving determination," she says. "Like the vows that had been tailored to register equality, her confident body language suggested she was not only a perfect match for the royals, but also seemed to signal that she'd put the problems of the past weeks behind her.

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"Her back was completely upright throughout, and her hands showed no 'leakage' signals that could have suggested suppressed anxiety. When she and Harry held hands her free hand hung down at her side, with the fingers curled slightly but without any picking or fiddling at all."


"When Meghan arrived, Harry's eyes had an expression of love, with a deeper intense gaze and a slight narrowing of the eyes, that was sustained by the way that she employed strong, enduring eye contact on him. Royal brides have a tendency to do the coy glance-and-look-away ritual but Meghan managed to sustain nearly 100 percent eye contact as Harry said his vows, which created a visible intimacy between the two that was congruent."

For a couple who have the eyes of the world on them, there could have very easily been some shaky and nervous moments, James says these were combatted by their leaning on each other for reassuring touches.

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"The pair held hands as they stood through the service, and when they sat to listen, Meghan placed a reassuring hand on Harry's leg and he placed his own hand on top in a reciprocal gesture."


The couple was fully aware that photographers and the public would be vying for that iconic just-married kiss picture, so they most likely clearly thought about it and decided it was best to get it out of the way, James says.

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"The kiss looked natural and spontaneous but that is a trick in itself, given the worldwide attention. They chose to kiss as soon as they appeared in public, which was a smart move. The longer the pause and the more the crowds egg a royal kiss on, the greater the chances it will become clumsy and awkward, as the natural announcement signals [that] a couple use to kiss normally tend to go askew."


"When they took the carriage ride to the wedding breakfast there was obviously an air of relaxation between the two of them, but again it was Meghan's hand on top in the handclasp, suggesting she was still sending out small signals of confidence and reassurance to her new husband," James says.

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This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors. 

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