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Kensington Palace shared two new clips of Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge speaking to deployed servicemen and bereaved families ahead of Armistice Day on Wednesday. The royal couple’s body language is markedly different during the video calls, an analyst has claimed.
Kensington Palace tweeted the clip of Prince William with the message: “As we mark #Remembrance Week, The Duke of Cambridge spoke with deployed representatives from the @RoyalNavy, @BritishArmy and
@RoyalAirForce about the important role Remembrance plays in their lives.”
The clip of Kate was shared on Twitter with the message: “The Duchess of Cambridge spoke with Armed Forces families who have lost loved ones to hear about the importance of #Remembrance week to them, and about the support that they receive from the Armed Forces community, other bereaved families, and from @PoppyLegion.”
Body language expert and author Judi James compared the two clips for Express.co.uk and shared her findings.
The analyst told Express.co.uk: “Appearing on separate video links to speak to servicemen and women and their families, Kate and William took a very contrasting approach to their audiences with both showing empathy for the groups they were meeting.
“Royals always need a chameleon ability with their communications but that ability to change both styling and verbal and non-verbal behaviours while looking congruent and authentic must be challenging.
“We’ve only seen them in more long-distance photos pre-lockdowns but their current use of close-up cameras gives an insight into their skills.
“The Queen rarely varies her signals and her delivery and Charles uses a similar approach but both the Cambridge’s are showing their ability to tune in to and even mirror the people they speak to here, suggesting deeper levels of engagement and understanding.”
Kate’s communication techniques laid bare
According to Judi, Kate’s body language communicates “empathy” as she speaks to bereft relatives in the new clip.
In reaction to the video of Kate speaking to families whose loved ones have died for their country, Judi said: “Her audience are bereaved relatives and Kate carefully uses several body language lowering signals to diminish her royal status and emphasise what looks like genuine respect and sympathy for their losses.
“In a simply-styled satin blouse and with her hair straight and practical, worn flat to her head and tucked behind her ears, Kate begins with a head-tilt to suggest a desire to listen rather than to deliver a speech, while her forward-leaning and slightly self-diminished pose makes her look accessible and warm.
“As she speaks, Kate’s eyes flash to her left and the eye-dart rituals suggest a more modest style of communication that is congruent with her words when she tells them ‘It has been a real honour to speak’.
“Her hands clasp into a tight ball on her legs to give endorsement to that sentiment of being genuinely honoured and when she speaks of their ‘sacrifices’ her more modest tone shows this is their moment, not her show.”
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According to Judi, the Duchess exhibits a “flash of royal status” with her use of language.
Judi said: “The one flash of royal status comes when Kate tells them that ‘I think I speak for the whole nation…’ but she quickly drops down from the higher status reference, using the verbal filler ‘you know’ and glancing away again to suggest a less assertive approach.”
Judi highlighted how Kate alters her body language depending on who she is speaking to.
The analyst said: “Kate’s minor change of body language when she speaks to the young boy is rather telling in terms of her approach to her own role as a mother.
“There’s a part-smile of warmth but no speaking in a different tone or talking down to him and she appears to knowingly treat him with as much respect as the adults on screen.”
Prince William’s communication techniques explained
Having watched the clip of Prince William talking to deployed servicemen, Judi said: “William is speaking to serving members of the Navy, Army and RAF and his approach can therefore be very different from Kate’s.
“He sits close to the screen, and although his initial approach is frowning and serious, he begins to look like a young boy opening his Xmas present once the banter starts with the guy from the Navy.
“Kate glances away modestly and reflectively as she speaks to her audience but William’s eyes can be seen scouring the screen as he talks as though he’s desperate to study each individual reaction to his words.”
According to Judi, the future king exudes “non-verbal authority”.
The expert said: “His non-verbal levels of authority are pitched higher that Kate’s here and his own experience in the military makes him speak more like a visiting high-ranking officer with a good sense of humour.
“William literally bounces in his seat at the small amount of banter and is happy to make some self-effacing jokes at his own expense regarding fitness, but when he questions each person on screen his frown re-appears and deepens to show concentration and he even waggles a finger to return to a more leadership role.
“When he tells his audience that ‘I’ve really enjoyed chatting to you’ it looks more than just a polite exit line as his wide grins during the banter suggest he might miss this military side of his life.”
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