Kate Middleton and Prince William have been married 11 years today and together, they have three children. Over the years, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have settled into their roles – both within their marriage and as part of the Royal Family. Express.co.uk spoke to body language expert Judi James about Kate and William’s enagagement interview – one of the very first times they appeared in public as a couple – and how their body language has changed over the last decade.
Judi said: “Looking at the relaxed, always-smiling, playful and even flirtatious couple that William and Kate are currently it’s a little hard to equate them with this rather formal and desperately non-tactile young couple on the brink of their marriage.
“The spatial gap between them is social rather than romantic. Kate sits upright and rather primly poised while William sits further back with a more relaxed body posture but with his hands constantly kneading and rubbing one another to signal suppressed anxiety or tension.
“They even sell themselves verbally as a long-term couple already who have put a lot of thought, discussion, planning and patience into working out whether marriage is the right decision.
“They also place a lot of emphasis on Kate’s strong and very happily family bonds,” she added.
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“There are only two touches during the entire interview, the first when Kate teases him about having ‘the Levi guy’s’ photo on her wall at uni rather than William’s and she pats his hand lightly and quickly in a gesture that lets him know she is being playful.
“A more pronounced touch comes later when Kate is being asked about controversy around her apparent lack of a career.
“William’s knuckles turn white as he listens to her struggle in her own defence and then he pats her knee emphatically as though telling her she’s said enough and doesn’t need to explain more.
“This ritual hints at William’s desire to protect Kate and the suppressed anger he feels when she is the target of any negativity,” Judi suggested.
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“The key to this hands-off formality seems to come in William’s comment about ‘Having learnt lessons from the past’.
“William will have watched his parent’s engagement interview which was part loving touch, romance and giggling affection and part car-crash.
“There was also Fergie with her playfulness and barely-concealed flirty sexuality and there was William’s aunt and great-aunt’s attempts to present fairy-tale relationships that both burnt out dramatically.”
The expert added: “William’s underlying, subtler body language signals here, with his puckered suppressed smiles and his constant eye-glances that signal excitement and love seem upstaged and deliberately over-ridden by what looks like a decision to deflect any of the drama and rabid interest that dogged his mother away from his own bride-to-be.
“By emphasizing the sensible, logical and measured side of their relationship William is showing he has learnt lessons and believes, cleverly, how to make a royal marriage work.
“Kate looks far more unsmiling here than she does now they are on the other side of any potential problems and able to relax and show the depth of their love in public.
“What she does show is a hint of the firmness that has probably ensured her current levels of success in the Firm.
“Her lips purse frequently and her index finger taps her hand as though she is keen to keep calm and appear confident.”
Judi said: “She even tells William off once in a very quick, playful way, but the way she smiles and pauses before deciding to tell him off about the way he instigated a break in their relationship once suggests she is no shy, retiring violet.
“She even tells [the reporter] ‘I wasn’t very happy’ and her hair preen and raised chin when the subject comes up hints that the term ‘Waity Katey’ underestimates the confidence and ability to be assertive when necessary of this future queen.”
Judi concluded with: “In body language terms this looks like a relationship that has been lived backward, with the couple now much more openly romantic together and apparently even more in love than they were here.
“But the signals here are being deliberately suppressed, with William down-playing the obvious happiness and love, probably ensuring the success of the long-term relationship we see now as he does so.”