An Expert Reveals What Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Body Language Says About Their Relationship
And why Kate might be the “dominant force” of the couple.
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When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle cozy up to each other, NBD, but when Kate Middleton tapped the knee of Prince William — her husband of nearly seven years — during an interview this week, the moment was internationally scrutinized.
Although body language typically reflects a couple’s emotional connection, you can’t fully interpret it without context — particularly when observing how a royal couple behaves in public, according to body language expert Blanca Cobb based in North Carolina. “They may be more reserved [than other couples] in their public displays of affection, but that doesn’t meant they love each other any less or aren’t excited about each other,” Cobb says.
To better understand what *really* goes on behind palace doors, Cobb analyzed a handful of the couple’s closest public encounters:
1. When Kate Tapped William’s Knee
Despite the recent hoopla surrounding this exchange, it isn’t *really* about affection or romance, according to Cobb, who sees tapping as a way to signal, “Hey, we can both relate,” in lighthearted situations. That said, touching doesn’t necessarily happen between any two people: “There’s a level of familiarity, comfort, and likability in touch. Through touch you connect with your partner. You let them know that they’re important to you,” Cobb says. “Gentle touches, playful moments, and sincere smiles show that they enjoy each other’s company and have fun together.”
2. When They Walked Arm-in-Arm
Cobb says couples who synchronize their movements are emotionally in sync, and in the photo above, Kate and William both lead with their left legs. “This shows they are in tune with each other,” Cobb says. Because Kate walks slightly ahead of William in this photo, it’s a sign that she may be a dominant force in their relationship, according to Cobb.
3. When They Stood in the Stands
“Body mirroring is another sign you’re really digging your partner,” Cobb says, pointing out the way Kate and William both lean toward their left, and they both rest their left forearms on the railing.
4a. When William Wrapped His Arms Around Kate
“You can get a temperature reading of how hot a couple is for one another by their physical proximity and the level of touch,” Cobb says. Although this doesn’t appear to be an intimate moment, since Kate and William aren’t locking eyes, “they’re seizing the moment with physical closeness that brings them closer emotionally,” Cobb says.
4b. When Kate Draped Her Arms Around William
Cobb isn’t concerned that the couples’ eyes don’t meet during this embrace, since they’re watching a sports game. “Her hands are relaxed on his shoulders, they’re standing body-to-body with no air between them, and while his hands fall away from her a little, his fingers look relaxed with no tightness,” Cobb says. “They are very relaxed and comfortable expressing themselves the best way they can, as royals.”
Cobb thinks nothing of the way Kate is tilting her hips away from William in the photo above, in part because it’s difficult to determine how much room Kate had to shift around in the stands. And because Kate and William tend to act demure around each other, facing each other, hip-to-hip, would seem out of character for them, anyway.
5. When Kate Air Kisses William
Kate and William rarely kiss in public, and this cheek kiss would be a rare exception — except that Kate doesn’t actually touch her lips to William’s face. “You can’t say she doesn’t feel emotion for her husband,” Cobb says. “There’s still no tension here. Kate is reaching out to him, has a relaxed bend in her arm, with her fingers relaxed on shoulder.”
William, on the other hand, looks less comfortable receiving affection in this context. “He’s body blocking by holding the gift between them,” Cobb says, although this doesn’t mean these partners don’t show fondness toward each other. “It could be that this is the extent of affection they’re willing to demonstrate in public.”
6. When They Were Young
“Putting your hand on someone’s stomach is more intimate than placing it on the shoulder or back,” Cobb says. “Although it’s unclear whether William is trying to hold Kate’s hand there or move it away, there’s no curvature to his fingers, which means there no tension. He’s most likely holding Kate’s hand in place — a sign of mutual comfort.”