Body Language Expert Patti Wood Analyzes 13 Iconic Photos of Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Find out what signals the doomed royal couple were secretly sending for years.

The secret language

It’s not just hindsight that’s 20/20—so too is body language, at least if you know what to look for. No one can read non-verbal cues quite so adeptly as our body language expert, Patti Wood, MA who helps us review the evolution of the doomed relationship between Prince Charles and his first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales. Wood also gave us a glimpse into what Queen Elizabeth is secretly saying with her body language.

A subtle warning sign

Theirs was to have been a storybook romance, or so it seemed. When Prince Charles met Lady Diana Spencer for the first time in 1977, he was the 29-year-old heir apparent to the British throne, and she was the teenaged kid sister of the woman on whom the young prince had set his sights. Although Charles was the “most eligible bachelor in the world,” Lady Sarah Spencer was indifferent to the young prince.
It wasn’t until two years after that relationship fizzled that Prince Charles finally took an interest in Lady Diana. A brief courtship began, and six months later, the prince proposed. Here in late February 1981, right after announcing their engagement, the two pose informally outside Buckingham Palace, with Diana gently and passively resting her hand palm down on the crook of the Prince’s arm while the prince hides one hand inside his jacket. “It’s an early and subtle warning sign of Charles’ lack of commitment,” Wood notes. “He’s attempting to make the connection less intimate.” 

Destined for doom

“During the engagement so many years ago, I could already see something wasn’t quite right between Prince Charles and Lady Diana,” Wood tells Reader’s Digest, pointing out how in this photo taken during the engagement, Diana is gazing away from Charles, her eyes hooded and looking so sad it appears tears are mere seconds away. Wood also notes how Diana’s shoulders are stiff and up near her ears while her arms are tense and still. It’s as if a “fear” response has been triggered, and she’s frozen in place. “She may be fearful of the cameras,” Wood points out, “but notice how Prince Charles [who arguably has been getting comfortable with cameras all his life], is also holding his arms stiffly by his side. It’s as if these two already know their impending nuptials are a mistake, but they’re powerless to do anything about it.

And so they lived happily ever after…?

It was to have been the wedding of the century, nay, a wedding for the ages. And, in a sense, it was. Nearly 1 billion television viewers in 74 countries watched the two exchange vows at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the presence of 2,650 guests as they wed on July 29, 1981. But that was just the first day of the rest of their lives, and judging by the dynamics at work in this photo of the newlyweds kissing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, things were about to slide downhill, fast. “See how she’s doing all the work?” Wood points out to Reader’s Digest. She’s clearly passionate about her new husband, but he does not share her ardor. It’s as if she’s literally “bending over backward” to hold his attention, while he responds with a nearly chaste peck on the lips, his eyes closed, his passion either in-check or non-existent.

The honeymoon’s over

In the case of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, it would appear the honeymoon never really began. As Diana later recalled, she knew, even before the wedding that Charles didn’t love her the way she wanted to be loved— because of these four words Charles said offhandedly to a reporter. Then it only got worse. Throughout the honeymoon, Charles found reason after reason to call his former girlfriend (and future second wife), Camilla Parker Bowles. He also wore cufflinks monogrammed with the initials “C” and “C,” intertwined. But for those of us who were not there, the evidence can now be easily found in this photograph from the tail end of their honeymoon, when they were visiting Scotland. To Wood, it appears Diana is experiencing a cold chill, her shoulders up at her ears as Prince Charles awkwardly encircles her with his arm. While it could be that Diana was bristling at the presence of cameras, it seems, in hindsight, more that she senses his suppressed anger and feels a sense of foreboding. 

This wasn’t the “three of us” Diana was referring to

“There were three of us in this marriage,” Diana  “so it was a bit crowded.” The third she was referring to was not Prince William, who was born less than a year after the wedding, but to Parker Bowles, with whom Charles was involved in an extra-marital affair throughout most of his marriage to Diana. “What’s stunning about this photo taken on April 23, 1983, is how far Charles is sitting away from his wife and child,” Wood notes. “He sits cross-legged like a child, himself, his arms out of reach for comfort or play, his hands in his lap instead of reaching out to his new family.” As for Princess Diana, she is clearly engaged deeply with her new baby. Her focus is on William, not on the cameras, and not on her husband.

The marriage grows more crowded

In this photograph taken at a polo event in June 1984, the Princess of Wales, pregnant with Prince Harry, who will be born in September, has her back to Prince Charles, who is chatting with Barry Mannakee, a bodyguard for Diana, with whom Diana later admitted to having a long-term affair. Clues to the affair lay in Diana’s posture: her arms are folded tightly and her feet planted far apart as if in fight-mode. Charles aggressively leans into Mannakee, invading his space, perhaps to assert dominance, or perhaps in an attempt to extricate himself from the scene altogether. Mannakee, for his part, simply looks away. A year later, he would be transferred from his post because of his “inappropriate” relationship with Diana. Two years after that, he would be dead in a motorcycle crash that Diana believed, until her own death, may have been a royal-related murder.

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

How Staff Can Greet Wwith Social Distancing ,Tips for greeting guests without the usual body language cues.

How Staff Can Maintain a Welcoming Environment with Social Distancing

Saying "Hi" without the high five and other tips for greeting guests without the usual body language cues.
June 2, 2020By Arthur Levine
At their heart, attractions and parks are highly social spaces where people join together in pursuit and celebration of fun. When the folks that operate the New Hampshire family entertainment center (FEC) Space Entertainment Center wanted to rebrand, they acknowledged the core mission of their business by incorporating the word “social” in the facility’s new name. But as they were getting ready to unveil the rechristened Block Party Social, the pandemic nixed their plans.
“We were joking that maybe we should call it, ‘Block Party Social Distancing,’” says Ron Weinberg, the FEC’s director of strategy and marketing.
Joking aside, Weinberg touches on pressing challenges that attractions face as they retool for the coronavirus era: How do places that are inherently social accommodate social distancing? How can they continue to project an image of carefree fun while adhering to “new normal” safety measures? How can employees provide the same quality of customer service while shielded behind a facemask and standing at least six feet away from guests?
Attractions are going to need to figure out new ways to connect with visitors, according to body language expert Patti Wood. The coach and consultant, who has worked with Ripley’s Believe It or Not and wrote “Snap, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma,” says that physical touch, such as handshakes and high-fives, equals three hours of face-to-face interaction.
“It immediately establishes rapport and trust,” she notes. “It helps make people feel safe in the environment.”
With the shortcut of physical touch now not an option, Wood suggests alternative body language behaviors. For example, even at 100 feet away guests would register broad waving motions from employees. “It signals the primitive brain that this place is safe,” she says. “At 15 feet, we break through the stranger barrier.”
So, what could employees do within the zone of 15 feet to the prescribed social distance of 6 feet? Wood says anything that would make guests feel comfortable and communicate fun, such as juggling, dancing, or generating bubbles, would do the trick.
With 29 locations across the globe, KidZania will be doubling down on the non-verbal gestures and other body language that is already featured in its culture, explains Jorge Guisasola, COO. For example, associates at the roleplaying centers greet guests by forming the letter “K” with the index and middle fingers of their right hands and placing it in front of their hearts. As part of the chain’s retraining, associates will also mimic some of the theatrical movements exhibited by KidZania’s costumed characters.
“Eyes communicate a lot,” Guisasola says, “but mouths and half of our faces will be covered, so we will need to compensate with a lot of body language.”
Wood agrees that eyes can express a great deal, and that engaging in eye contact is critical in a post-COVID environment. “Eyes can show a crinkled, sincere smile above and beyond the mask,” she notes, and suggests that attractions train employees by having them stand in front of a mirror with masks on and observe what happens around their eyes when they smile.
Rob Norris, president of Seabreeze Amusement Park in New York, understands that guests value the friendly, smiling employees who greet them on the midway and operate the rides. It will be important, perhaps more than ever, to maintain that dynamic during the pandemic.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but we know if you smile behind the mask, your face lights up,” Norris says.
In addition to smiling and eye contact, Wood also recommends that employees tilt their heads when they engage with guests. “It shows submission, friendliness, and a desire to listen and attend,” the body language expert says. To help disarm and reassure children, whom a masked stranger may put off, she suggests that employees bend their knees and get lower in space when encountering them. While the action would project approachability, Wood cautions that staff members shouldn’t linger in a crouched position, because it might encourage youngsters to think it’s okay to move in for a hug.
Behaviors such as these convey what Wood terms “open body windows.” She says it shows that “I feel safe having these vulnerable parts of my body open to you. I’m not dangerous. It’s safe, and I’m welcoming you into my space.”
One way to help overcome the challenges imposed by wearing masks is to make the masks themselves more attractive. Block Party Social is having fabric masks imprinted with the FEC’s new logo.
Big Thrill Factory, which operates two FECs in Minnesota, is ordering fun masks with facial expressions on them. It is also having signs printed that staff members can hold up for guests to see from a distance. Some might be functional, such as one used in a queue that says, “Next.” Others might have fun visual symbols printed on them such as a thumbs up. Of course, employees could give actual thumbs up or use other non-contact gestures like clapping.
These are some of the simple strategies that Barry Zelickson, owner of Big Thrill Factory, and his team are developing to counter the restrictions that facemasks and social distancing introduce. “Yelling would not make a better environment,” he says with a laugh.
At the large KidZania locations, guests often ask for directions to different locations within the facilities. Instead of verbal explanations delivered from a distance, Guisasola says that associates will use open arms and hands to walk them to the destination. “It will be more gentle and friendly for the visitors,” he says.
Operators know that all of the new procedures as well as the general anxiety caused by the pandemic could be stressful for their front-line workers. And stressed-out workers cannot maintain the fun atmosphere that is the hallmark of attractions. That’s why it is as important for facilities that are reopening to focus on employees as on guests.
“We want to create an environment where our employees still enjoy their jobs,” says Seabreeze’s Norris. “We want them to feel comfortable being here so they can have the same relationship with guests that they had in the past.”

Patti Wood, MA. Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

My Dad's Magical Visit on Father's Day

I can’t believe this happened. My father always had a white convertible and always got the best parking spot anywhere we went. As a kid, I thought he had magical powers. Since he passed away, when I am out with my family and we get the perfect parking spot we joke that daddy’s with us. The day before Father's day friends, who were on their home from the classic car club event came to my house for driveway 15 feet away with us each wearing a mask safe visit. But as they left their classic white convertible broke down and they ended up having to leave it at my house. They asked me to move my car so they could keep their vintage baby safe in my garage. The perfect spot. The next day I woke up Father’s Day, missing my dad with this photo of him and my sister and myself (I am in red) and his white convertible on my Facebook Timeline, and then I went to go outside and realized there was a white convertible at my house in the perfect spot. Yep, my father came to visit me for Father’s Day.

Here is my friend's classic white convertible. 

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

Lily Allen & David Harbour's Body Language.

First photo with Dior her in a black skirt.
Here pose here is so unusually modest and shy for a carpet photo shoot. Note how close together her feet are, how tight her arms are to her body and the way her fingertips are nervously interlaced, her oversized top and long black skirt, black boots large black bag protecting her vulnerable, “Ventral Front/Belly Window, her front orientation with shoulder closest to him held forward and away along with her head tilted away from him and demure closed mouth smile. She wants to protect herself from scrutiny, he is facing towards her feet on either side of her protectively and to show she is his, but note his hands are in his pocket. They are both smiling but there is tension. (Is she pregnant here??? Has she been criticized publicly? Why the need to protect the front of her body so much)

Second photo seated at the game, Again we see her sweet modest dressing with the school mark peter pan collar and bulky sweater and hair back while her Knees tightly pressed together, arms held close to the body and gathering security by holding the cup. What I love is that she is leaning into him with her lower body and her outside foot lifted to bring her knees up and touching and resting her left shoulder into his chest and her smile. I just love how unabashedly happy he looks with his crinkled eye mouth open in a laughing smile and his legs splayed out in alpha male manliness. She makes him feel like a hero.

Third photo red dress My goodness she is beautiful here, but she is slightly afraid, note the stiffness in her arm how straight and tense her posture is and see how she is doing a slight comfort clasp with her hand so the front fingers touch and her slightly frozen look. He again has a nice protective foot stance but he is so straight up and down and stiff in his arm around her.  He is still her protector here and loves that role as you can tell with his smile.

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

Princess Diana and Prince Charles Body Language at the end

Not much in this photo except it seems apropos that in the first photo I analyzed he was pointing towards her and now he is pointing away. She how she is shielding her pelvis awkwardly arms tight to her body and fingers pressed into protect.

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at