Between Meghan Markle marrying into the royal family last May, and Kate Middleton delivering Prince Louis the same spring, the royal family have had a hell of a busy year.
And while the new sister-in-laws have seldom been spotted kickin' it together, on July 13, the duo was spotted watching tennis at the Wimbledon Championships in London. Although it's plain to see the girls look way better acquainted than they did during their first joint appearance on Christmas day following Meghan's November engagement to Prince Harry, North Carolina-based body-language expert Blanca Cobb decodes the changes in their relationship based on their interactions beginning in...
They glance at each other on Christmas day.
Meghan hangs a step behind Prince Harry to walk in line with Kate. "Keeping the same pace as someone else helps you maintain a connection and engage in conversation," Cobb says. Meghan also turns toward Kate to make eye contact - one way to show interest and respect, according to Cobb.
Although Kate's smile isn't as big as Meghan's, which appears to be genuine, there's no tension in either woman's body language that can't be chalked up to the cold. (See how Prince Harry's hands are planted deep in his pockets? Brrr!)
Kate and Meghan walk together without engaging.
Here, Kate looks to the right as Meghan glances left toward Harry. "Paying attention to different things doesn’t mean anything at all," Cobb says, insisting she sees no signs of animosity or rivalry among the women.
Meghan's left fingers, she notes, look tensed around Prince Harry's right elbow. It could be due to her nerves or anxiety of being in front of millions of people, Cobb says, or she could also be a little chilly.
Kate looks over at Meghan.
"Most of the time, you make eye contact with people you're comfortable with," Cobb says. "When you're uncomfortable, you try to disengage."
Here, Meghan leans in the direction of her future sister-in-law. "You turn toward things you like, so I get the sense their relationship is very friendly. Their bodies show they're interested in each other, with a good amount of space between them, which tells me they're in the get-to-know-each-other phase."
The women share a laugh.
Cobb notes the way both women raise their left hands toward their faces, rest their right hands in their laps, and cross their ankles. "When you're in sync, and share a connection or a bond, you simultaneously mimic each other's behaviors, which is indicative of a good relationship," Cobb says. "You don't mimic someone you don't admire or trust," she adds, adding that these feelings appear to be mutual among the women.
And see the way they cross their lower legs toward, as opposed to away from, each other? "Your feet take you where you want to go," Cobb says, suggesting the women are cool being close.
Kate smiles at Meghan.
Kate's smile here is sweet as can be, Cobb says: "It's very friendly and sincere, not forced - you can tell Kate is appreciating what Meghan is saying."
FWIW, if Kate were faking it, you wouldn't see the crinkling at the corners of her eyes, which happens when real smiles engage the cheek muscles. Her lips also would look tight, and she might not show her teeth.
Both women grasp their hands in their laps, which could be another sign they're in sync. Alternatively, it could be that Meghan, who's still new to the whole royal thing, is mimicking the behaviors she sees from her future sister-in-law in her peripheral vision. "She's in a new environment, like a tourist in a foreign country where a different language is spoken. As a royal, there's a different way of doing things. So she might be looking for cues on how to act," Cobb says.
Still, it's what you don't see that says the most about what's going on between them. "There are no harsh glares, fake smiles, or tension that would tell me something isn't right," Cobb says. "Instead, the way Kate looks at Meghan without fidgeting or diverting her attention shows camaraderie and respect."
Kate sees Meghan touch Prince Harry's arm.
"People in the royal family have different etiquette and rules of decorum that's more formal than the average person's," Cobb says of the way Meghan touches Prince Harry's arm here. "She's throwing her head back a little, and touching her future husband. It's a little flirtatious."
Meanwhile, Kate doesn't seem to be tsk-tsk-ing the royal newbie about bucking tradition of minimizing PDA. "Kate's smile looks genuine since her teeth are showing, eyes look smaller from the cheeks raising, and her dimples are prominent. I would imagine she wants her brother-in-law to be in a loving, happy relationship even if touch breaks royal protocol - no doubt she's happy about what the act represents."
Kate looks back at Meghan.
"It's always a great sign when your soon-to-be sister-in-law either waits for you or turns to check on you," Cobb says, noting that Meghan remains a newbie in the royal family. While Kate's facial expression isn't captured in this photo, Meghan walks toward Kate with a smile and head tilt that suggests she’s feeling happy and confident, perhaps because of Kate’s supportive gesture. Meghan also holds her clutch from the bottom - a sturdy power grip that says she’s comfortable with her new role, according to Cobb. "Based on this snapshot, Kate and Meghan’s sisterhood is continuing to grow strong," she says.
Kate laughs at Meghan.
“When you laugh really hard, your eyes twinkle and close naturally, and your mouth is wide,” Cobb says of Kate, who looks positively ticked by something her new sister-in-law said. That jokester!
Meanwhile, Meghan makes eye contact with Kate and covers her mouth with her hand. “You only do it when you don’t want to be overheard-even in a crowd with a million people around you, it’s subconscious,” Cobb says of the nonverbal sign. “It’s something close friends do.”
Kate confides in Meghan.
In the photo above, Kate drops her left shoulder, leaning in to whisper to Meghan, Cobb notes, adding that the desire to share things privately appears to be a two-way street. What’s more, when you lean toward someone, it shows you’re in listening mode-even in the absence of eye contact, Cobb says of Meghan, who’s clearly giving her sister-in-law her full attention.
As women attempt to get physically closer, the emotional bond is apparent. “This is a different level of intimacy that I’ve seen between them before,” Cobb says.
~THE BOTTOM LINE~
"How you act behind closed doors could be different regardless of whether you're royal," Cobb says. "But from their body language, smiles, and eye contact, I think they have a respectful, friendly, and sisterly relationship with no micro-expressions of anger, disgust, or discontent. They’re on a solid foundation and seem to be getting more comfortable with each other."
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