Meghan Markle was trying to show ‘closeness’ with Prince Harry and ‘it was important to her that they appear side-by-side’ at her first Invictus Games event this year, a body language expert has claimed.
Speaking at her first engagement of the competition, she apologised for being late and explained she was spending time with their children, Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two, at the couple’s Montecito mansion before jetting off.
Meghan’s overall body language at the event suggested ‘excitement and energy’, explained Judi, who also noted Harry, meanwhile, appeared to perform ‘distracted rituals’.
The expert said the outing ‘lacked the more romantic PDAs the couple are known for’ and that Meghan ‘was keen to emphasise their togetherness’ with her signals.
Judi explained: ‘Meghan walked on stage alone and seemed surprised to find Harry wasn’t behind or beside her.
‘A small hair preen suggested she needed him there and she looked back to seek him out, suggesting it was important to her that they appear side-by-side together.
‘When Harry did join her it was Meghan stepping to stand close beside him, linking her hand into his arm in a gesture of attachment and fondness while he performed a solo gesture by rubbing his hands and grinning at the audience.
‘After talking about their “little ones” and after Harry’s beam of pride in response, he steps away from Meghan slightly, performing a small cough.
‘Meghan subtly steps sideways towards him though, again showing a desire for established, continual closeness. She adopts a mirrored pose with one leg out to signal like-mindedness, too.
‘The Duchess also references “my husband” with affection, putting a hand out towards Harry in a loving reference.
‘When Meghan finishes her speech she literally hands over to Harry, throwing both hands out to signal its his turn to speak,’ continued Judi. ‘Meghan moves in closer to Harry as he speaks, performing a face-gaze that looks flattering and adoring.’
The couple reunited at the glitzy Invictus Games hotel party last night with the Duchess taking centre stage to make ‘off the cuff’ speech in front of hundreds of military veterans.
Harry, who was last pictured with his wife on September 1 at a Beyoncé concert in California, took a back seat as Meghan spoke of her parenting duties and praised competitors.
She spoke of receiving ‘a few gifts’ from the Canadian team, competing at the Games in Dusseldorf, Germany, including a bracelet, engraved with the initials of a former personnel unable to attend the event.
Acknowledging that she had missed the opening days of the games in Germany, she explained she had been spending time with her children, Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two, at the couple’s Montecito mansion before jetting off.
Meghan spoke of taking the youngsters out to get milkshakes and carting her eldest off the school in Los Angeles before she jumped on a jet to the games.
In an emotional address to 1,600 competitors friends and family at the Dusseldorf hotel, the Duchess said: ‘I’m really proud to be part of this Invictus family with all of you. I’m grateful for all of you that are here.
‘We’ve also received a few gifts from the Canadian team we got a bracelet and on that bracelet they put the initials of one of the people who wasn’t able to make it here tonight.’
‘I’m sorry that I was a little late to the party,’ she added. ‘Just like so many of you this is about family and friends and the community that Invictus has created, that Fisher House has created, so I just had to spend a little bit more time at home getting our little ones settled, getting milkshakes, doing school drop off, and then I landed a couple of hours ago.’
A source close to the couple said Meghan did not read from a prepared speech but spoke off the cuff.
Aides said Meghan, 42, did her own hair and make-up soon after arriving at her five star hotel in Dusseldorf and got ready for the event in just over an hour.
The event is being hosted by Dave Coker of the Fisher House Foundation, one of the main sponsors of the games.
Officials from the Invictus Games Foundation were also in attendance.
The Mayor of Dusseldorf Dr Stephan Keller was at the event where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex mingled with the families.
The two-hour event featured traditional German food and the evening will feature music and entertainment.
She also said she would one day want to bring her children to the event so they could experience it for themselves.
Meghan, who wore a black Banana Republic dress, Bottega Veneta belt and Aquazarra shoes, stood side by side with Harry, as she was cheered loudly when taking to the stage at a conference hall adjoining Dusseldorf airport.
She told the 1,600 guests: ‘It is so special to be here sorry I’m a little late to the party.
‘I had to spend a little more time getting our little ones settled at home and get them to drop off.
‘Three milkshakes and a school drop off and I just landed a couple of hours ago and I am thrilled that the first event I can do for Invictus is here with all of you. It is amazing and I hear it has got off to a good start so far.’
As the crowd cheered Harry beamed and clapped enthusiastically.
Meghan took an evening flight from Los Angeles and after a brief stopover in Heathrow flew on to Dusseldorf.
Meghan told the audience she had visited a Fisher House in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and was ‘moved’ by what she saw. The organisation helps veterans and their families and are one of the main sponsors of the Invictus Games.
She said: ‘They understand, as does my husband does in previous Invictus Games how much rehabilitation matters, not just a solitary experience but as a family.
‘I am very proud of the Invictus family that are here.
‘Like so many of you, you know this is about friends and family and the community of Invictus has created and Fisher house created.
Meghan said she had been sent some gifts and was wearing a bead bracelet she had received.
She held up her arm to loud cheers and said the initials of someone who was unable to make the game had been etched on them.
‘So many people at home are rooting for you. Thank you, and look forward to a fantastic week. I can’t wait until one day to bring our kids so they can experience how fantastic it is.’
Harry took over the microphone after his wife joked he was a ‘man of few words tonight’.
Harry welcomed the friends and family and pointed out competitors were likely resting after a day of competition.
He urged those in the room to swap phone numbers and photos so they could connect as part of the healing process.
Ahead of taking to the stage the couple were met with a number of competitors and family members of those competing in the games.
They presented the Duke and Duchess with a number of gifts including books, a bracelet and a medal which Prince Harry said to Meghan they should ‘Keep and bring with them’.
The books were given to the Duke by Jayson Hooker, who is the husband of Ainsley Hooker a competitor.
Upon meeting Jayson, Harry quipped to Meghan: ‘I grabbed them (the books) and I went to grab his beard and he was weirdly ok with it,’ and the group shared a laugh.
Mari-liis Hull from Estonia also met the royal couple. Her husband is competing in the 1500 running and as well as rowing . She Thanked the Duchess for being so supportive; to which she replied: ‘It’s so lovely to meet you’.
Meghan then met Nigerian competitor Glory Essien, who upon meeting the Duchess exclaimed: ‘You’re my Nigerian sister!’ Meghan squealed and gave her a big hug.
Harry revealed at the opening ceremony that his wife was cheering on the African nation as he discovered she is 43% Nigerian.
Nigeria have been at the heart of this year’s Invictus Games as they are the first African country to ever compete.
On meeting Prince Harry and Meghan, Jenny Charles from the UK team said:
‘The Invictus Games wouldn’t exist without Harry and it was an honour to meet him and Meghan. Training for the Games these past 6 months has given my husband Charlie a purpose again and the whole family has seen such a change in him.
‘The Games has given me my husband back. When we spoke Harry joked that’s it’s no surprise that, as a former Marine, Charlie is taking part in all the swimming events! Harry remembered him from meeting him the other day, and he wished him luck for his events tomorrow. It was a really special meeting and one I won’t forget.’