Prince Harry, 38, and Zara Tindall, 42, are first cousins as Harry’s father and Zara’s mother are siblings. Judi James, a body language expert, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk to explain how their body language has evolved over time.
Judi said: “Zara and Harry have always had a very strong relationship, with their non-verbal displays defining friendship as well as family bonds.
“We saw several ‘trio’ poses back in the day, with Zara and Mike celebrating their sporting connections and culture together and Mike showing admiration for Harry’s work on the Invictus Games, while Harry was clearly in awe of Mike’s rugby career.
“The body language ‘fit’ between Zara and Mike always looked perfect. Zara is a consummate hugger and uses authentic and spontaneous displays of affection, while Harry has complained at length about how he lacked sufficient hugs from his own father after his mother died.”
The body language expert argued that the Duke of Sussex became “broody” as a result of playing with Zara’s children.
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Judi explained: “Harry was also seen looking utterly broody playing with Zara’s small children and his behaviour with the Tindalls seemed to point to some filling of the gaps in Harry’s emotional life when it came to a need for maternal hugs, paternal, playful banter and children of his own.
“We can see Zara’s empathy and fondness for her cousin in 2008 when she and Harry embrace and kiss on the cheek. Zara was in bridesmaid mode but she still performed this special and tactile greeting for Harry, who leans in and clings to her neck with an air of needy affection.
“This cheek kiss takes the bonding deeper though. Harry’s eye smile and part-rounded cheek suggest he is using the kiss as a cover for an opportunity to whisper in Zara’s ear and presumably make her laugh.
“Tie-sign rituals like this would show to the outside world that they have a confiding, playful relationship, with whispering together always suggesting that people are sharing secrets.”
“While Harry and Meghan stand locked together as a duo here though, holding hands and performing some rather forced smiles, with Meghan standing slightly behind Harry’s right arm as though in need of some form of protection, Zara’s body language lacks her normal displays of tactile warmth.
“Facing front rather than turning in to encourage communication, her arms are held firmly at the sides of her ribs, with the left hand clamped to the right wrist in the clasp in a barrier ritual that would imply there was no offer of PDAs or touch beyond the politest.”
According to Judi, Harry’s relationship with Zara by the time of King Charles’s Coronation was totally different.
She suggested: “Harry had his own posse of support at the Coronation and Zara and Mike were on satellite duty, walking near to Harry but not with him.
“The placement looked symbolic. Harry’s proximity to Zara meant there would be low levels of tension if they did happen to catch up and meet, avoiding any risk of Harry being ‘cut’ in public as he would be by many of the other royals.
“But Zara and Mike were not in his social group. That job was reserved for the loyal and ongoing royal friends of both Harry and Meghan: Eugenie, Jack, Beatrice and Eduardo.
“These cousins and their husbands could perform some congruent, authentic signals of friendship and direct support to Harry, and they did. Edo placed a hand on his back as they walked into the Abby and Harry and Jack were laughing and chatting throughout.
“Zara seemed to make no active effort to display affection for Harry, like their playful, loving hugs and whispers of old, but there was a point when they did at least appear to acknowledge each other.”