Despite the whole experience being completely new for Meghan, who today became the Duchess of Sussex, she did not display a single sign of anxiety or nervousness – while her new husband, the Duke of Sussex, “was so patently nervous”.
Judi James, a body language expert, said Harry performed about 12 self-touching body checks, like pulling at his gloves and wringing his hands, within a few paces of getting out his car after arriving at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
However Meghan, the latest member of the royal family, maintained complete calm throughout the ceremony to “help Harry through it”.
Meghan placed her hand on top of Prince Harry’s – a sign of reassurance – whilst they were sitting in St George’s Chapel, Judi Jones said (Photo: PA)
Ms James said: “Meghan was amazing. Walking up the aisle by herself, I looked for every smallest sign of suppressed anxiety and nervousness – there was absolutely nothing.
“I think she probably saw it as her role to help Harry through it rather than the other way round. She sat with her hand over his for quite a bit of the service as though she was reassuring him.
“To me, she was the strength when it came to the day and the actual performance.”
The Duchess of Sussex walked by herself down the first half of the aisle (Photo: PA)
Ms James described Meghan’s hand as “like a ballet dancer’s” throughout the exchanging of their vows, as it was incredibly steady.
The Duchess’s eye gaze was also a strong sign of her confidence in leading the day, Ms James said.
“For me, today was something we don’t usually get at royal weddings, which is the eye gazing between the couple because she gave Harry a 100% eye gaze.
“When he went to take his vows, the undistilled awe and love for her is what we normally see at royal weddings in very tiny glances – but we got the full force of it with this one, which is what made it unique and very touching.”
Meghan maintained ‘100% eye contact’ throughout their vows (Photo: PA)
Comparing the newlyweds to William and Kate, who married seven years ago in Westminster Abbey, Meghan and Harry were able to hold eye contact for much longer, Ms James said.
“The love that was emanating out of Meghan’s eyes really helped him quite a lot. Even her blink rate hadn’t got quicker so there was nothing – even in the smaller details – that showed nervousness,” she observed.
Ms James also commented on the touching “role reversal” reassuring relationship between Prince William and Harry before the ceremony began.
Prince Harry walks with his best man, the Duke of Cambridge (Photo: PA)
“It was William who gave him a lot of reassuring smiles to calm him down a little bit,” she said, whilst observing that William looked much calmer at his wedding to Kate Middleton than Harry did this morning.
After entering the chapel with his brother, there were several signs of Harry’s nerves increasing as he began touching his face, blinking more and licking his lips.
“It was quite unusual and sweet to see him in that mode because normally at royal events he is the joker in the pack and making everybody else laugh,” Ms James said.
“But this one had knocked him sideways a little, probably more than he was expecting,” she added.
Ms James also observed the rest of the royal family, especially through the colourful sermon delivered by American Minister, Michael Curry.
She said: “It clearly would have been a first for most the royals, who weren’t expecting it.
“Camilla went from smiling and laughing in the right places to thumbing through the programme like she did at the Commonwealth Games. I don’t think she was quite sure how to take it.
“Even Harry did a slight finger tap, which could be a suppressed sign of impatience. Him and Meghan kept catching one another’s eyes through it.”
One member of the audience whose body language was particularly noticeable was Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend.
Chelsy Davy (Photo: PA)
“She was the spectre at the banquet,” Ms Jones said.
“When she arrived, everyone else was chatting and laughing, but she sat in the pews just looking to one side – gazing reflectively into space and biting her lips slightly. She was doing that at the end as well. It was almost the soap opera part of the ceremony,” she added.
This article was originally published on The Press Association (PA).