The Princess of Wales’ composed demeanour suggests she has been a tower of strength for Prince William on a difficult day – as the nation marks a year since the late Queen died, a body language expert has claimed.
William and Kate marked the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II‘s death with a small private service at an ancient cathedral in Wales, with Kate appearing ‘confident’ both in the church and when greeting well-wishers – suggesting she was ‘assured’ in her role supporting ‘a grandson keen to honour his grandmother.’
The Prince and Princess of Wales travelled to St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire – exactly a year since the nation’s longest-reigning monarch died at Balmoral aged 96.
Crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of their arrival in the grounds of the cathedral from dawn, but they had to wait in the sunshine after fog nearby meant the couple’s helicopter had to be rerouted and their arrival delayed by more than an hour.
Body language expert Judi James said it was clear from the moment they arrived of the role Kate had to play – and she was comfortable in carrying it out.
She told MailOnline: ‘Kate looks so high-status and regal here, much more confident, assured and in control than she appeared at the walkabout straight after the Queen’s death.’
James said the Princess of Wales’ gestures and poise suggests she is ‘being the pivotal supplier of support and strength for William, whose body language fluctuates more, with more personal hints of a grandson honouring his beloved grandmother.’
Signs that Kate was more relaxed than William came via the way her arms fell naturally by her side, while the prince’s hand gestures were more restless, she speculates, suggesting his personal grief still looms large.
‘While Kate stands with her arms by her sides, or is seen using some animated gesticulation as she chats inside the abbey, William glances at the waiting crowd with his hands rather sweetly clasped in front of his torso, or performing small, bashful-looking waves as though grateful yet again for the empathy and support of the fans in his time of remembrance and mourning.’
William and Kate had been due to arrive at the church at 12.25pm, but eventually turned up around 1.30pm and greeted well-wishers before walking inside for the ten-minute service.
One well-wisher could be heard shouting towards William: ‘You’re doing a great job!’
In a poignant moment during the service, William walked forward with Kate, who placed a floral tribute of white roses in front of a photograph of Queen Elizabeth II.
After laying the flowers, Kate – who was wearing a pair of earrings that once belonged to the late Queen – stood for about 10 seconds with William in quiet contemplation with their heads slightly bowed, before turning and walking away.
The Very Revd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Dean of St Davids, told the congregation: ‘It is particularly poignant to welcome you here, Your Royal Highnesses, on Accession Day, the first anniversary of the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
‘She came here four times: the only monarch to sit in the Sovereign’s stall, the seat of a Chapter member which came into the possession of the Crown at the Reformation.
‘Today countless numbers will be remembering her with both sadness and with great affection, giving thanks again for her long life of dedicated service – as we do here.’
Their trip came at the same time as William’s brother Prince Harry made a shock and secret visit to St George’s Chapel, the Windsor church where the Queen is buried.
In St Davids, royal fan Amanda Bentley, 47, from Pembroke Dock, arrived with her friends at 9.30am. She told MailOnline: ‘We thought it would be a good opportunity to come down and see Wills and Kate.
‘I think it’s nice they have a modern approach to the monarchy, and I think William and Charles will be a good example for future generations, because they had such a good example set for them (by the Queen).
The late Queen visited the cathedral four times during her reign – in 1955, 1982, 1995 and 2001 – and had sat in a special stall within the cathedral quire.
St Davids was a place close to the Queen’s heart and the decision of the Prince and Princess of Wales to go there reflect that affection, and their new roles.
Britain’s smallest city had lost its city status but in 1994, at the Queen’s request, it was returned along with the Northern Irish town of Armagh ‘in recognition of their important Christian heritage and their status as cities in the last century’.
It came as the Royal Family collectively mourned the monarch. Earlier, the King looked emotional as he left Crathie Kirk near Balmoral having paid a moving tribute to his adored mother.
As the nation marks the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death today, crowds gathered at Buckingham Palace and Army gun salutes honouring Her Majesty rang out across the United Kingdom.
William and Kate also shared their own favourite pictures of the late monarch and said: ‘Today we remember the extraordinary life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth. We all miss you. W & C’.