A Body Language Expert Explains Why Meghan Markle Is Always Touching Prince Harry

My original doctoral dissertation topic was touch. I loved consulting on this Media story!

No matter who Time magazine decides to put on the next cover, in my book, Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex, is the unequivocal person of the year. The American actress who stole the heart of a British prince, and ours in the process, has become a beloved presence at royal functions, breathing new life into a stale monarchy. People all over the world are obsessed with the duchess' every move, but they are especially enamored with Markle and Prince Harry's genuine love for each other.
"The reason why we are fascinated by them is because they are so likable, and their love is so real," Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma tells Refinery29. Wood studied a number of photos of Markle with her new husband and family and emphasized the couple’s habit of congruent touching, which means “They each go to do the exact same touch to each other, and that leads to high marital satisfaction," she says, adding, "That’s an incredibly good sign for them."
According to Wood, Markle’s connections with Harry can be categorized into two different types of contact: She offers Harry a comforting and reassuring touch on the hand or the arm when she senses his anxiety. Or she reaches out to get comforted by him in large crowds. “She does it in both directions — she’s not just a taker, and she’s not just a giver,” Wood explains, making special note of Harry’s reciprocation of the same type of contact.
Even though Markle was an actress and used to the public eye, the heightened level of scrutiny she's now being subjected to is a whole new world. "I don’t think the world even knows the sound of all the cameras that she hears...and the shouts. It’s terrifying," Wood says. The fact that Markle is able to find a comforting presence in her partner is a testament to the health of her relationship with Harry.
What about the critics who turn their noses up at the hand holding and public displays of affection? Is Markle acting needy, as naysayers have claimed? Wood shrugs them all off. "Needy would be her reaching, with a look of longing, and him not reciprocating." Markle is just reaching out with affection, and "she looks absolutely satisfied." So that's that.
Ahead, Wood analyzes how Markle's body language has changed throughout her years in the public eye, tracing the evolution of the American who became royalty and her relationships.
With Ex-Husband Trevor Engelson at the Anti-Defamation League Awards Dinner in October, 2011

Markle was married to Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013, and the photos of them together tell a different story than her photos with Harry. "Comparatively, her [shoulders are] down rather than up, and her smile is restrained," Wood explains. She made special note of Markle's stance with Engelson: "There’s tension in her body, and she’s slightly pulling away, even turned away." Where she's constantly looking at Harry with a gaze of affection, that warmth was missing from photos with her ex-husband.

Meghan & Harry at Their Engagement Photocall at Kensington Palace in November, 2017 

Wood puts a heavy emphasis on a couple looking into each other's eyes, establishing a sign of great liking and attraction. "They’re finding each other’s gaze and looking at each other at the same time and the same moment," she explains. "They do it to the exclusion of those outside the photo. They’re looking at each other not because they want to be photographed looking at each other, but because they’re having a moment. They’re alone in this bubble, just the two of them."
Harry, Meghan, Kate, & William at the Royal Foundation Forum in February, 2018

The duchess' contact with Harry's arm would normally be an admonishing touch; she is turning downwards and clinging slightly. "Harry might have said something embarrassing or funny, and [Markle] might have felt it was slightly inappropriate. But that is not her standard pose," explains Wood.

While Kate Middleton and Prince William are further apart, it's more due to their personalities and position. Royalty is typically given a larger space bubble due to status.

"[Markle and Prince Harry] are different people than Kate and William. They’re much more extroverted, they’re gregarious, they’re influencers. Kate and Will are affectionate with each other, just not to the same degree," Wood says, making a special note of Middleton's public displays of affection towards her children.
The Duchess of Sussex with Queen Elizabeth during her first engagement with the Queen June, 2018

The internet went into a tizzy when adorable pictures from Markle's first solo royal event with Queen Elizabeth flooded Twitter. The images of a genuinely joyful, delighted, and giggly Queen were the surest sign yet that Markle had been truly accepted into the family. "The Queen is turning her head towards Meghan and orienting slightly towards her. She rarely does that," says Wood, adding that Markle seemed a little bit anxious and nervous, hence her raised and guarded arm. "She’s having a moment with Meghan, [and] if you’ve read the Queen, you know that’s rare."
The Duchess of Sussex with the Duchess of Cornwall at the Royal Ascot in June, 2018

Of all the relationships with her new in-laws, none have had the level of true affection that we've seen between Markle, Prince Charles, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. "Meghan is doing that open-palm gesture. It’s called a symbolic reach. She’s reaching as if she wants to touch, and Camilla is doing a similar kind of reach," Wood explains, adding that Camilla is not as open and expressive with other people as she is with Markle. "The facial expression is in the moment, and the heads are slightly bent towards each other. That’s a relationship that’s going to be okay, it’s not fraught with tension."
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Royal Ascot in June, 2018

"I love that he’s doing that formal royal hands behind the back thing, usually when men do that they stand ramrod straight," says Wood. Prince Harry holds his hands behind his back but Wood said it's clear that he just wants to be touching Markle. "Both of them are trying to be restrained and formal, but they just can’t help themselves. He can’t help looking at her, and she can’t help but love his gaze."
The Duke & Duchess of Sussex at the Royal Ascot in June, 2018

This photo of Markle and Harry is Wood's favorite of the bunch because of the level of intimacy it shows between the newlyweds: "There’s a part of him that is very intent with shaking hands with somebody. He’s leaning forward, he’s got eye contact with this person, his intent is going to his next formal interaction. But he’s got his arm behind him touching her. It tells me that she is ever present for him, that he doesn’t turn on and off. There's a continuity of touch, I love that. That to me says healthy relationship."

Much attention has been paid to Markle's mother during the wedding ceremony, but in the frenzied days leading up to the Royal Wedding, Markle made a brief public appearance with Doria Ragland as the latter arrived to meet the Queen for the first time. Wood said this blink-and-you'll-miss-it video said a lot about Markle's doting relationship with her mother: "I loved that she didn’t feel the need to protect her, go behind or in front. They were mostly walking side-by-side. What the arm around her mom’s back said is 'You’re the most important person to me.' The timing, as well as the kind of loving, supportive around the back touch told me that she feels very comfortable with her mother, loves her mother, and doesn’t feel less powerful or more graced than her. There was a lot of kindness and tenderness here."

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.

Body Language Experts Analyze Queen Elizabeth's Relationship With Her Children

By now, we've heard a fair share about the original royal fab four: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward (OK, he's still an enigma). We know and love them as public figures but beyond closed doors, well, they're still a mystery.
And their relationship with their parents? That's a whole another story. "While Queen Elizabeth is groomed and trained in posture, you can still tell how much she adores her children," Susan Constantine, human behavioral expert and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Reading Body Language, tells GoodHousekeeping.com. While the love goes both ways, the Queen has a unique relationship with each of her four children — and some are better than others.

Prince Charles

For starters, the Queen is spotted with her firstborn Prince Charles much more than her other children. Perhaps, it's because he's next in line to the throne. "It's interesting to note that their relationship is very fun and playful," Constantine tells us. "When they're together, they're both fully embracing the moment." Literally, it's like there's no one else in the room when they are together.
 Obviously, their public relationship is more prim and proper than most mother and son's. "Even when he's kissing her (a common greeting for royals), you can tell that Prince Charles is using this moment to get in touch with his mother by looking directly at her and even smelling her scent," explains Constantine. While the handhold follows protocol, it also displays a level of intimacy and emotion, which is something you don't see everyday ... especially from royals.
But here's where their relationship really shines: the polo matches. "You can literally see the story unfold in this picture," Constantine says. "She's completely connected with him." The slight touch of the arm. The genuine laughter. The way Charles is looking at his mother. THAT'S LOVE.

Princess Anne

As the only daughter of the Queen, it appears that Princess Anne had it tougher than the boys, at least according to Constantine. "If I didn't know they were mother and daughter, I wouldn't think they're related." The distance and formality between them is evident but one may just chalk it up to protocol.
"In this particular instance, we see the two women interact in a seemingly loving way," Patti Wood, body language expert and author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, tells GoodHousekeeping.com. "Although they're holding hands and kissing, their bodies still remain far apart." Basically, they're close but not that close.
 Sure, they're laughing here, but what about Princess Anne's posture? "They're clearly amused with one another but Anne is pulling away from the Queen," explains Wood. And then there's the Queen's face. "Her noise is rippled, eyebrows are raised, and she even has a forced smile," explains Constantin. But there may be more to the story than we know (we're guessing that's the case).

Prince Andrew

The admiration that Prince Andrew has for his mother is unmatched. "You can see it in his eyes," says Constantine. "His eyes are always in the direction of the Queen, which is the way that he honors and respects her."
But when you take a deeper dive into the photos, there's a sense of nervousness displayed by the Prince — and even, the Queen. "Tucking, pulling, or adjusting clothing is a comfort cute," explains Wood. "It's very rare to see the Queen perform one of these self-soothing gestures but in this moment with her son, she's doing just that."Despite any suspected anxiety or stress, the two are still in sync with mirroring strides.
The formality of their relationship may be difficult for both parties.

"In this moment, it's clear that Prince Andrew wants to be close to his mother ... but can't," explains Wood. "His hand is clenched in a fist to hold back from being more intimate." Since he can't lend a hand, Prince Andrew physically turns his body towards his mother to show how he cares for her.
Prince Edward
With one look, it's totally obvious that Prince Edward is the Queen's precious little boy. When she's around him, she stretches her neck toward him, leans her shoulders, and has a genuine smile. "Her body language is screaming, 'that's my baby!,' says Constantine.
When given the opportunity, the Queen splits her time equally between her two youngest sons (Prince Andrew left, Prince Edward right). "It's a good sign that there's equal distance between the two of them," explains Constantine. "You can also sense the difference between Edward and Andrew: Edward is reserved like his mother and Andrew is intense and powerful."

The Final Verdict

The Queen's relationship with her children is unlike basically every other family on the planet. "There's an instant barrier between them," explains Wood. "Their relationships aren't indicative of a normal family relationship because the children have to know that their mother loves them without receiving physical touch." 
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.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle's Body Language During This Kiss Proves Their Bond Is Tighter Than Ever

For those of you who thought the juicy part was over the moment the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot, I've got some news. Apparently, a royal marriage isn't doing anything to cool off the major steam coming from these newlyweds. So much so that the two were spotted — get this — locking lips at the 2018 Sentebale Polo. Don't believe me? There are photos to prove it, and according to an expert, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's body language during a kiss is nothing short of magical.
This kiss is a big deal because it's obvi adorable and heartwarming, but also because kissing publicly isn't something the royal family typically does. While PDA isn't totally against the rules, it's definitely frowned upon. "The queen rarely holds hands with her husband in public and this seems to have set an unwritten precedent for the other royals," body language expert Robin Kermode explained to the Daily Mail. Other royal couples, such as Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, have followed in Queen Elizabeth's footsteps. For a second there, I got worried Harry and Meghan were going to do the same.
No, seriously. After The Sun released a video of Harry rejecting Meghan's attempt to hold his hand at the Young Leaders Reception, I got worried that maybe the married couple was going to put their PDA days behind them. But these pictures prove they most definitely are not.
I asked Patti Wood, author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, to share her thoughts on what we can really learn from their relationship based on the steamy kiss.
 "It's a nice passionate kiss," she tells Elite Daily. "One of the things that I like is the look you can see [even] with her eyes closed, the way she holds her chin up, and her whole face towards him like that... She's giving herself blissfully to him."
 "I also like how she's tucked in underneath his arm like that," she continues. "See how her shoulder is tucked underneath his arm? So they're already joined at the bodies. They're already joined, and she's up underneath, and he's up and around on top of her, so this is a double joining, which is very nice."
Next, Wood draws our attention to a seemingly NBD group picture the couple is included in.
 She explains that this photo is worth looking at for a few reasons. "One is that she's up underneath his arm there, and that makes him the strong man," Wood says. "He's specifically the strong man, see how he has the strong man arm up to hold the trophy? So the look that she's giving him is, 'Oh, look, he's my big strong man.' The look is a gaze of, 'There's my strong man hero.'"
"There's a little bit of a sexual tension with them," she continues. "If you look at the lean, see the lean that he has in that lower torso? His hip is leaning on her hip, so they have that wonderful hip connection, but the mutual gaze and the way her cheeks are lifted up in that gaze... There's a lot of heat in that."
She also points out the fact that her arm is in her pocket. "See the arm block she has with her hand in her pocket for the other guy? OK, he's got his full body, all of his body windows are open towards her, and she's facing towards the camera — she has to — but that arm block with the hand in the pocket shows it's all about [her] man," Wood notes.
For those of you who are sticklers for the rules, don't worry. The two aren't necessarily breaking any with their PDA. "There is no protocol that says they cannot show affection on official engagements, and this gesture makes them relatable and lovable to the public," royal etiquette expert Myka Meier told People. And, luckily for royal fans, these two can't keep their hands (or faces) off each other.
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.

The Body Language Mistakes You Don't Realize You're Making at Work, According to Experts

You met deadlines and put in extra hours at work—yet you still haven’t landed that coveted promotion or cultivated meaningful connections with coworkers. Could it be your body language that’s holding you back?
When it comes to communication, “you might be saying one or two words, but giving off thousands of nonverbal cues,” says body language expert and author Patti Wood. These nonverbal cues, which include everything from your posture to your expression, are crucial to any interaction—and it’s especially important to project the correct cues at work, she says.
Even with so much at stake, experts say we’re often completely unaware of a whole host of body language faux pas we’re committing in the workplace. Here are some common ones—and how to correct them:

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.

The Non-verbal Clues That Indicate Your Relationship May Be Coming To An End

More often than not, you can tell when a relationship you’re in is going to end.
Whether something prompted the breakup or the love has simply faded over time, there are usually signs that indicate your partner is no longer invested in the relationship.
Unfortunately, these signs are not always verbal - rather, they can be subtle changes in body language that warn of the inevitable split.
To know what signs to look for, we spoke to author and body-language expert Patti Wood, who described four non-verbal clues that suggest everything is not smooth-sailing.
According to Wood, the “most important indication is a change in non-verbal clues.
“If you know what normal, happy, healthy is in a relationship when things change even small changes in non-verbal cues can be telling,” she told us.
One of the most important things to be aware of, and one of the “basic foundational principles of body language,” is that you “go towards what you like and you retreat from or run away from what you don’t like,” according to Wood.
If the norm was for your partner to lean in as you spoke, a healthy sign in a relationship, and now they are leaning away or reverting when you come near, it may be an indicator something is off in the relationship.
Wood also advises being aware of the time spent together - and apart.
Although it is normal for schedules to become busier, couples should want to spend time together.
If this changes, becoming anything from “not spending weekend days with you that they did before or coming home late or leaving for work early,” and there is no other “external cause,” according to Wood, it might be worth speaking to your partner.
Another possible indicator is eye contact, or a lack thereof.
Body language: Eyelids speak louder than words

“As basic as it is, when somebody loves you they like looking at you,” Wood told us. “If there’s a sudden change in the amount of time they spend looking at you and making eye contact with you,” it is not a good sign.
Finally, “touch is a powerful communicator so changes in the number of times they touch you or the location they touch you are telling,” said Wood.
If your partner used to love holding your hand but suddenly has no interest in physical contact, their body may be telling you something that they haven't verbally said. 
Whether they are made consciously or not, non-verbal clues can be an important indicator of the health of your relationship. 

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.

Body Language Habits That are Hard to Quit but You'll be Glad You Did!

It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

It's a clichĂ©, but it's true. Body language is a crucial part of communicating. The way you act can warp the entire meaning of what you're saying.

That being said, bad body language habits are the often hardest habits to break. We become so accustomed to slouching, averting our eyes, or folding our arms that we barely even notice what we're doing.
Here are several body language mistakes that are going to be tough to ditch. Still, if you're able to quit them, you'll definitely thank yourself later.

If you've gotten into the habit of fidgeting, it can be difficult to snap out of it. But it's important to take steps to reigning in this nervous habit.
Fidgeting demonstrates nervousness and a lack of power, as body-language expert and The Power of Body Language author Tonya Reiman previously told Business Insider.

Leave your hair alone. Constantly running your hands across your scalp and twirling your locks is pretty distracting. Plus, as ABC reported, it can damage your hair overtime. It can be hard to quit, so try playing around a stress ball instead of your hair.

Adopting a defensive pose
Many people naturally cross their arms or hunch over a bit just because they don't know what to do with their hands.
However, this posture can make you look uncomfortable, defensive, or untrustworthy.

“You should always keep your hands in view when you are talking,” Patti Wood, a body- language expert and author of “ SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma,” previously told Business Insider. When a listener can't see your hands, they wonder what you are hiding.“

Doing weird things with your hands
To gesture or not to gesture? That is the question. Some people keep too still while speaking, while others flail all over the place.

As The Washington Post reported, behavioural consultant Vanessa Van Edwards notes that using hand gestures while speaking is actually an effective way to engage your audience.

The trick is, avoiding the hand gestures that will trip you up. Don't point, don't pretend to conduct an imaginary orchestra (seriously), and don't get too choreographed.

Shuffling instead of walking
Humans are pretty judgmental creatures. We think we can tell a lot about someone based on snap judgments over something as simple as their manner of walking.

BBC reported that how we walk can actually determine our risk of being mugged. Criminals are less likely to target people walking with an air of confidence.

It can be hard to change up your walk once you've fallen into bad habits, but it's important to walk with confidence and coordination. Don't shuffle through life.

Forgetting to smile
Reiman previously told Business Insider that smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy.

“It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener, instructing them to smile back. Without the smile, an individual is often seen as grim or aloof,” she explained.

Appearing distracted
There's nothing more irritating than talking to someone who's clearly not paying attention to you.

Some people are just naturally distracted or busy, so it can be tempting to check your phone or watch at every available moment. Still, you've got to keep this impulse in check when you're around others. Otherwise, you'll just come across as a rude and uncaring person.

Stand up straight. Terrible posture is easy to develop, especially if you're slouched over a desk for the majority of the day.

Slouching doesn't just make you look un-confident, writes Catherine New for Psychology Today, it's also bad for your back. Improve your health and the image you present to the world by standing up straight.

Nonexistent or aggressive eye contact
Here's another body language pitfall where moderation is key.

What Your Body Says (And How to Master the Message) author Sharon Sayler previously told Business Insider that the ideal amount of eye contact should be “a series of long glances instead of intense stares.”
Overly long stares can make whoever you're talking to pretty uncomfortable. On the other hand, averting your eyes indicates disgust or a lack of confidence.

Being too still
It's definitely good not to be jumping all over the place, constantly. However, you don't want to be too eerily calm during conversations. This may make people feel uneasy, or that you're not interested in what they're saying.

Instead, try to mirror the person you're speaking with. Don't mimic them - they'll probably get offended by that - but subtly copy some of their gestures and expressions. Writing for Psychology Today, Dr Jeff Thompson notes that mirroring will leave people perceiving you as positive and persuasive.

It can be tough to break out of your poker face, especially if you're just naturally not that expressive - but it's worth trying, since it can improve how you're perceived.

Mismatching verbal and non-verbal communication
You might be saying all the right things - but if your body language doesn't match up with your words, you might end up rubbing people the wrong way.

In fact, researchers at Sacred Heart University devoted an entire study to this phenomenon. Their subjects were married couples, but their finding was pretty universal — when verbal and non-verbal messages do not align, “nonverbal signals carry the brunt of the emotional message.”

Discussion Questions

  1. What is at least one bad body language habit that you have?
  2. Why is good body language important to someone in ministry?
  3. Share an instance where you mismatched verbal and non-verbal communication. 
  4. Think about a time when you are talking with someone. How has their body language affected your conversation and your response to them?
Link to article - http://www.freshenitup.org/blog/body-language-habits-that-are-hard-to-quitbut-youll-be-glad-you-did

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.