The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at the UN headquarters in New York, with Harry set to deliver the keynote speech to mark Nelson Mandela International Day. However, the Prince’s appearance at the meeting drew attention after some fans said he appeared uneasy on stage. Body language expert Darren Stanton broke down what the Duke’s body language said about what was happening behind the scenes at the meeting.
Speaking on behalf of Slingo, Mr Stanton said that, based on Harry’s non-verbal gestures, the Queen’s grandson showed “distress signals” as he took the stage.
The expert said: “Harry appeared nervous from the outset. While he’s not really an accomplished public speaker, he still has a great deal of confidence to address a large number of people, however, this didn’t seem to be one of those occasions.
“Harry portrayed distress signals that denoted his uneasiness on stage and how he was feeling slightly overwhelmed by the situation. Mr Stanton added that as Harry spoke, he “kept biting his lip”.
This, the expert claimed, is a “self reassurance gesture we make when we’re feeling anxious, and he was fidgeting with the button on his suit jacket.”
He added: “At certain points, we saw Harry display a bilateral arm shrug – an unconscious movement where your left arm moves in and out – which tends to reflect when someone is feeling uncomfortable and wanting a certain situation to be over as quickly as possible.”
However, Meghan represented a source of comfort to the Prince during the stressful experience. Mr Stanton said: “As well as holding Meghan’s hand, he was seen adjusting his jacket or tucking his hand into his side behind his jacket.
“There’s no denying that Harry isn’t hugely comfortable being in the spotlight and in these situations he leans on Meghan as his rock.”
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She said that “finding and loving each other” was the “best thing” to happen to the couple, who share two children.
But there was one moment during his speech when Harry appeared confident – when he was speaking about his mother, Princess Diana.
Analysing the speech, Mr Stanton said: “Despite Diana’s passing being many years ago, it, understandably, still affects Harry greatly to this day and we saw a huge emotional shift in him.
“He became less fidgety as he spoke, we saw his affection for Diana leak through as he smiled sincerely when he spoke about her and remembered her ‘playfulness’ and ‘cheekiness’.”