Body Language Experts Explain Prince Harry's Strange Pose with Melania Trump

Body Language Experts Explain
Prince Harry’s Strange Pose with Melania Trump

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. 

His unusual gesture ― and whether or not it was intentional ― became a hot topic over the weekend, even eclipsing Harry’s first official appearance with his American girlfriend Meghan Markle. People on Twitter and some media outlets noted it looks like Harry was giving a symbol of the devil, either signaling that he himself is the devil or that the spirit of the devil surrounded him
But two body language experts think the gesture was misread in two very different ways. Patti Wood, body language expert and author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language & Charisma, told HuffPost that while Harry has held his jacket in photos before, this specific hand position is new.

“This is called the horn or the devil’s horn, and what people are saying in the media about it is not correct,” she said. “It is not a sign that he’s the devil, but rather a warning off of evil spirits. It’s a protective gesture against evil or darkness and illness.” 
Huh. Wood said putting one’s hand on one’s stomach is an act of self-comfort, and she has previously noticed other world leaders exhibiting self-comfort in photo ops with President Donald Trump.

“I’ve seen world leaders in photo shoots with Trump and I see a lot of what are called self-comfort cues,” she said. “This would be considered one of those. It looks like the devil’s horn but it is also hand to belly,” she said. “At the very least it would be a comfort cue, and show a lot of tension and a need to protect his central core.” 

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.”

“His normal facial expression is actually typically a smile, which is wonderful and warm and engaging,” Wood said. “Here, the mouth is more closed, lips more pulled back and he’s not smiling.”
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.”

Still, Navarro was firm that when it comes to Harry, we can’t draw conclusions from a weird-looking hand position.
“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.

That didn’t stop Twitter users from saying it. They flooded the site with responses to the awkward photos, with many suggesting Harry was sending a subliminal message. 

Link to Huffington Post article -

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

What the Way You Hold Your Handbag Says About You

What the Way You Hold Your Handbag Says About You

Find out what a body language expert has to say about the way you tote around your bag.

Drawings by Tatiana Ayazo /

The secrets of the hold

We often spend a lot of time trying to pick out which bag to carry on the daily, and that preferred purse says a lot about you. But not much second thought is given into the way we choose to carry it. Whether you like to showcase it in your hand, elbow crook, or across the shoulder, it's actually not a random decision. According to body language experts, it can say a lot about our inherent personality. We spoke with Patti Wood, body language expert and speaker, to find out exactly how to decipher hidden messages in the way we present our go-to accessory. She has spent over 30 years conducting research, writing books, and speaking about body language. "I am fascinated by purse behavior," notes Wood. "Purses are a gender identifier: a way to show your status, your taste and creativity, and personality."

Over one shoulder with bag close to body

You're practical and need others to prove that they are worthy of your trust. When you meet new people, you look for these signs that they can be trusted. As someone mainly looking to get things done, you don't like to waste your time with little things. Your cautious and wary tendency means that you feel the need to be smart in public and watch out for yourself. According to Wood, "If you tightly grip the bag and pull it, it's more likely fear, lower self-esteem, or concern of your purse being stolen."
Over one shoulder with bag swinging freely

Different from the hands-free look, your purse hangs freely on one side of your body, not your front. You are characterized by your spontaneous, carefree attitude and like to take life as it comes. People know you as being confident and self-assured. Wood also notes that you like your style to show, but you still want a certain amount of freedom. You don't put priority on designer labels and brand names; the swinging and open style indicates that you favor functionality over display. Whichever brand you choose, these are some things you should never keep in your purse.

In the crook of your elbow

This approach depicts a flaunting of prestige and authority. You put priority on status and position, and can indicate that you are carrying a purse with a heftier price tag. While you may sometimes be referred to as "high maintenance," you know what you expect to receive from the world. (Take this quiz to find out how high maintenance you really are.) According to Wood, the arm crook can carry the most width, so carrying a bigger bag signals that you like to be seen. "I see celebrities do this with their big double-handled high status bags. Part of it is the weight and breadth; if they don't hold it this way, it makes their body look bigger and matronly in photos. If it's held out more from your body, a common style practiced by A-listers, it depicts power. You're wearing the bag as if it's a badge of honor or an award. You feel as if you've got a sense of superiority."

In your hand

This style exudes a more sophisticated and put-together quality. People think of you as being assertive, well-organized, and efficient. This is the most comparable to carrying a briefcase and can communicate the importance of the person's job. Your ambitious attributes shine through, and you excel at focusing on the task at hand, probably because you're armed with these things you keep in your purse to help you be more productive. People also tend to carry a bag this way when they want to attract more attention to the outfit itself—you don't want your purse to be attached to it. Instead, the purse merely becomes a separate accessory to accentuate your clothing.

In front of body with both hands

Body language experts refer to this as "twofurr," which indicates shyness and a need to protect oneself. You may suffer from anxiety in social scenarios and prefer to stay out of the spotlight. "I see young women do this in public situations where they don't know people or in stress situations, and if they are generally shy," Wood says. These are the signs your social anxiety is actually a disorder.

Cross-body with bag in front

You want as much freedom of movement possible, coupled with a feeling of protection and accessibility. This method allows for the most convenience to be able to get into your bag, but until then you want to move through the world easily without feeling encumbered. "Function is more important than appearance in any cross-body bag," says Wood. "Some people carry and use cross-body bags and they think it is the safest, easiest, and most secure if you are a walking a lot. You see this in people who live in big cities like New York and with people who travel a lot." Sound like you? Then, you need these tips on how to pack lighter when you travel.

Cross-body with bag in back

You tote around a cool, calm, and collected personality that is more trusting of others. You are also walking with a clear goal in mind, and the bag is analogous to your autonomous individuality. You don't like to concern yourself with the things you have to carry—Instead, you're great at shaking off life's burdens and like to view life through a more casual, relaxed lens. In fact, your bra may reveal the same thing about your personality.


People who sport a backpack are more independent and want to take care of themselves and the people around them. While freedom is important, you primarily like to be prepared for any situation. Steal these back-to-school tips to keep your backpack organized wherever you go. Unlike cross-body gals, you don't like to leave anything to chance and tend to be the most reliable one of the group. You strongly believe in healthy living and find comfort in having a sense of belonging. In addition, your natural nurturing instinct may be stronger than others. You don't stress about what other people think of you—you determine your own coolness and pride yourself on being self-sufficient.

No bag at all

If you neglect a bag altogether, you imply a privileged position where others (whether it be a boyfriend or assistant) carries the load for you. This personality is the most self-assured of them all; you have so much going on for you that carrying a bag is not something you have to concern yourself with. On the other hand, it could just mean that you are completely unencumbered and want to move freely. According to Wood, in this case it indicates that you are very secure in your own identity, and you like to be defined by who you are as opposed to the things you wear. Curious what your other accessories say about you? This is what your shoes reveal about your personality.

Link to Readers Digest article -

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