KATE Middleton displayed “inner tension” today as she rode in a carriage with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Trooping the Colour.
According to a body language expert, Kate’s posture showed a lack of “relaxation”, next to beaming Meghan, who did her first appearance since giving birth to Archie.
The Duchess of Cambridge, 37, travelled along the Mall with Prince Harry, 34, Meghan Markle, 37, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, 71.
Although the royals were all smiles, Judi James says that the group appearance seemed less than natural, in the wake of rumours of a rift between the Fab Four.
Judi said to Fabulous Digital: “Meghan’s return to front line duty involved what looked at times like a rather tense, but also smiling carriage ride down the Mall with Harry, Camilla and Kate.
“Kate’s posture was slightly self-diminished, curled in slightly and with her arms pulled into her sides and her hands clasped in her lap.
“Kate’s non-verbal confidence signals have been increasing recently but the lack of relaxed splaying here suggested inner tension.
“It was clearly Meghan looking the happiest and most relaxed here, using a cheek-rounding, congruent-looking smile and eye contact as she chatted to Kate.”
For months the Royal Family’s press machine has been trying to dampen speculation that William and Harry have fallen out (they didn’t speak when they arrived at church on Easter Sunday) along with whispers that their wives don’t get along.
Having moved to Frogmore in Windsor and established their own court, the Sussexes have a new life with space from the Cambridges.
And the body language expert says Meghan being “chatty” in the carriage “did suggest a continuation of the projected narrative that all is well between these three.”
She added: “Camilla beside her looked uncharacteristically unsmiling as they emerged from the Palace and Harry wore the slightly bland, enigmatic facial expression that has recently become his signature look.
“Unlike Kate, Meghan carried a clutch bag but she still gesticulated to Kate with both hands, using emphatic and illustrative gestures with the bag held aloft.
“Harry also seemed to relax at this point and take his cue from his wife, nodding and grinning slightly while Camilla sat upright using the most regal-looking high wave of all four.
“With William presumably astride a horse there didn’t appear to be a need for too much effort from Kate, Meghan and Harry to look happy together in one another’s company.”
Fans keen to see Meghan and Kate chatting on the Buckingham Palace balcony during the royal fly-over were also disappointed.
The two women stood at opposite sides of the balcony, with Kate laughing with Prince William and their three kids, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Meanwhile, Meghan watched the RAF display with Prince Harry and chatted to Princess Eugenie’s husband Jack Brooksbank.
Judi said that it was a missed opportunity for the royal women to put on a display of solidarity and friendship.
She said: “The balcony appearance would have been the perfect opportunity for the Sussexs and the Cambridges to add to Kate and Meghan’s friendly-looking chat in the carriage by standing sharing the moment together again to put paid to all the rumours of a rift between the two brothers.
“But instead we saw William and Kate posing down one end with their scene-stealing children making everyone chuckle with their enthusiastic royal waving and little Louis’s avid pointing and face-pulling, and Harry and Meghan down the other.
“Meghan stood smiling and actively participating in the whole event while Harry stood behind her looking slightly less cheerful.
“When Meghan looked back to talk to him he did smile and lean forward and when they chatted to Eugenie they did all laugh together but otherwise Harry wore the puckered brow look that he seems to have sported since taking on the responsibilities of first-time fatherhood.”
The Duchess of Sussex was not accompanied by her newborn son, who was born on May 6 in the Portland Hospital in London.
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Her presence alongside Kate today comes amid rumours of a rift between the princesses.
News of Meghan’s appearance comes after The Sun exclusively revealed her wedding pictures with Harry were leaked on Instagram after their photographer was hacked.