Prince Charles is among the members of the royal family currently working through the complicated process of grieving. Charles is the oldest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, who died at 99 years old on April 9.
Since his father’s death, the Prince of Wales has done his part to support the queen and the rest of the royal family. He publicly reacted to his father’s death for the first time in a video shared to the Clarence House social media accounts.
The List spoke with body language expert Jason Lee, a former professional poker player who currently works as a relationship science and data analyst with Healthy Framework. Lee provided more insight on the Prince of Wales’ body language as he delivered a difficult and emotional statement. Lee explained that Charles’ long public life and many recorded speeches make it easier to note how he might feel about his subject matter.
“A key to validating the authenticity of anyone’s body language is to establish a baseline of how they normally look and act in similar emotional situations and look for deviations from that baseline,” Lee noted. “With celebrities like the Prince of Wales, you can easily pull up past speeches and videos for comparison and answers.”
The concise speech was still pretty emotional
Prince Charles may have kept his statement short, but many who saw it felt it was quite heartfelt. “As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously. He was a much loved and appreciated figure and apart from anything else, I can imagine, he would be so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the Commonwealth, who also I think, share our loss and our sorrow,” Charles began.
During the beginning of the speech, Lee noted that Prince Charles often shakes his head side-to-side while making affirmative points. “Generally, when the mouth says yes and the body says no, it’s a sign that something might be off,” Lee shared.
“However, when we look back at some of the Prince’s past speeches, like from a speech given last year seeking to connect with the Sikh population about not being able to celebrate as usual during the Festival of Vaisakhi (also a sad topic), this is nothing more than a general mannerism he regularly uses when talking about less-happy topics,” he told us,
Charles’ speech took a sentimental turn after his more formal beginning. “My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that,” the prince said.
Prince Charles' tone of voice also indicates his feelings are genuine
Lee noted that in the speech he referenced from last year, Prince Charles’ words seemed much more rehearsed. When it came to his statement about Prince Philip, Charles appeared to have spoken more from the heart. “When you look at this most recent speech, the sadness, conviction, and true emotion is much clearer,” Lee said. “There is no doubt in my mind that the prince is genuinely sad about the passing of his father.”
Charles also seemed very calm. It could speak to the royal family’s satisfaction in that Philip died peacefully and on his own terms. “What also stands out is an underlying sense of peace and calmness about the situation,” Lee said.
“As the prince is a less-animated person, it’s more challenging to point to ‘classic tells’ that validate this claim,” Lee told us. However, if you step back and compare his tone, mannerisms, and collected nature with the gravity of the situation — he’s handling it like a champ. This most likely either means he’s an extremely emotionally strong person, or, more likely, the passing was expected and something the family had time to make peace with long before it happened.”
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