What A Body Language Expert Noticed In Meghan Markle’s Oprah Interview

After two years of feeling “silenced” by palace authorities, Meghan Markle finally came forward to tell her side of the story on the special Oprah with Meghan and Harry on Sunday night. Impeccably clad in a black-and-white wrap dress, the Duchess of Sussex talked with her friend Oprah Winfrey about her life in and out of the palace.

As promised, no subject was off-limits, including discussion about rumors that she had made Kate Middleton cry over an incident before her wedding. She discussed her feelings over learning that son Archie would not be named a prince and would not receive security, and perhaps most shockingly revealed that at her lowest point, she felt she “didn’t want to be alive anymore.”  Meghan also denied being the leading player in the couple’s decision to relinquish their senior royal status and pursue their own life and goals in the relative privacy of their new California home.

Some royal watchers have long claimed that the duchess is claiming victimhood to cover up her own ambitions and agenda. Bustle reports that several of them weighed in on the Oprah interview even before it aired, claiming she was putting on a good show in front of a friend asking softball questions. (The quotes were gathered by a pair of social experimenters curious to see whether the royal experts would comment on something they hadn’t seen.) So was Meghan’s apparent vulnerability all an act? One expert offers some thoughts.

Meghan's hands and mouth tell a revealing story

The List spoke to Mark Bowden, a human behavior and body language expert who is also a panelist on The Behavior Panel. He watched Meghan’s gestures and facial expressions, and what he found might come as a surprise to the palace loyalists. 

Bowden notes that the duchess seemed most open and expressive when she was talking about the wedding vows she and Harry exchanged three days before the big royal ceremony. “When remembering happy events, she is big and bold with her gestures,” he says. But her body language when talking about less pleasant matters was even more telling. Suppressing the lips or putting a hand to one’s mouth can indicate you’re trying not to say too much; Meghan did both when talking about her naiveté about marrying royalty, and again when she talked about unnamed palace individuals who hadn’t been supportive of her. 

As Meghan recalled feeling “unprotected” from the media, she lowered her head and covered her eyes; this indicates she was feeling “either shame she feels about not being protected, or shame about how she now feels towards the institution for not protecting her,” says Bowden. She showed indications of stress, such as swallowing and rapid breathing, when discussing such uncomfortable topics as her suicidal thoughts and racism within the “Firm.”

What about the account of her conflict with Kate? Meghan told Oprah that in fact, it was Kate who made her cry that day. Bowden says that Meghan’s vocal tones and increased blinking “indicate the story is true.”

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