The Duchess of Cambridge performed a huge "act of inconvenience" as she greeted her stepmother-in-law Camilla Parker Bowles at today's Commonwealth Day service, an expert has said.
Both Kate Middleton and Camilla attended the Westminster Abbey service alongside Prince William and Prince Charles, who represented the Queen at the event after she pulled out of attending.
There Kate was "keen" to "register affection" to the "woman who will be on the throne before her", body language expert Judi James told the Mirror.
After the royal party arrived at the Abbey, there was a sweet moment where William and Kate greeted Charles and Camilla with hugs and kisses before they started their procession down the aisle.
Judi says Kate was keen to show her affection and closeness to Camilla, who is set to be the next Queen Consort ahead of her stepdaughter-in-law.
"Kate touched Camilla’s arm with her left hand as an add-on gesture to suggest closeness and affection as they cheek-kissed," she said.
"She also performed a huge ‘act of inconvenience’ to show respect, bending her knees to lower herself right down to plant her kiss on Camilla’s cheeks.
"Her hand on Camilla’s arm dropped but she then replaced it for one final squeeze.
"These greeting add-ons are tie-signs that would signal to Camilla and to the rest of the world that Kate is keen to register affection and closeness with the woman who will be on the throne before her."
However, before the group greeted each other, Judi said there were some signs of "residue tension" from the last Commonwealth Day service in 2020, which was the last royal engagement before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the Royal Family.
She explained: "Pared-down and paired-up, the body language displays of affection and unity from Charles, Camilla, William and Kate today looked like an emphatic statement of closure after the unbearable tensions and open rifts of 2020, when Harry and Meghan were biding farewell to the UK and Edward and Sophie had to sit as human buffers to avoid layers of perma-frost forming.
"The most telling moment came when the four stood together waiting to walk down the aisle.
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"There were signals of residue tension from William on arrival, who may still have been remembering the ghosts of the past as he arrived with one hand spread-eagled across his stomach in a barrier gesture before wiping his hands together and patting at his clothing to suggest inner anxiety, but he chatted, smiling, with Kate to look more upbeat than his sombre and tense expression two years before.
"Even Charles arrived stuffing his hand into his pocket and looking a little frail and unsteady on his feet, but when the group convened it was kisses all round and an air of relaxation that they all seemed to be enjoying.
"William kissed Camilla on both cheeks and Charles did the same to Kate before standing close in front of her using prolonged eye contact as he smiled and pointed in an animated conversation. Kate mirrored his pointing gesture, suggesting fond approval and like-minded thinking."
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