A picture is worth a thousand words. But some onlookers apparently thought this one, of Prince Harry and Melania Trump at the Invictus Games in Toronto over the weekend, is worth 666.
Harry and the first lady posed for a series of photos together before sitting down for a chat. Trump stood with her arms at her sides, while Harry’s hand was half-tucked into his jacket in a very unusual way: His ring and middle fingers were tucked inside his coat along with his thumb, while he held his pinky and pointer fingers outside.
Joe Navarro, body language expert and author of What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People, is skeptical of reading any intention in Harry’s body language. He pointed out to HuffPost that a photo is a moment in time, and a number of factors could have led to this particular positioning.
“Had the photographers loitered too long? Is there something else going on?” he asked, adding, “I have to wonder, was he going to unbutton his jacket and then changed his mind? Was he in prep for sitting and then they asked him to stand again to do more photos? To me, you can’t draw too many inferences from the photo. I wouldn’t personally read too much into that.”
But both experts agree that there is a level of tension visible in Harry, and both pointed out the prince usually looks much more relaxed and happy in such situations.
“There was some psychological discomfort,” Navarro said. “The look of his face, the look of his hand is very unusual, except for the fact that he and his brother have a tendency to cover their belly which is a self-soothing behavior to deal with a bit of tension.”
Wood also noted that Melania Trump, who kept her arms pressed closely to her body the whole time (“a fear response”), looked tense, too.
“If you look at their smiles, hers has enormous amount of tension. Her look is slitted eyes, closed eyes, which we do in tension. We also close our eyes when we want to attack.”
“All we can say is that it is unusual, but we can’t automatically say he intended it to be this or that,” he said.
Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com.