Kate Middleton Behaved in a Similar Way to Princess Diana in Early Days as a Duchess, Meghan Markle Always Showed Confidence: Body Language Expert

The Duchess of Cambridge has gained in confidence.

the Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge Depart The Lindo Wing With Their New Son
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Many commenters have remarked that the Duchess of Cambridge has gained massively in confidence since she first entered the Royal Family in 2011.

On the other hand, while Princess Diana was a widely beloved figure in her day, she always displayed a distinct shyness throughout her years in the public eye—a shyness which body language expert Darren Stanton sees reflected in photos of Kate Middleton early in her marriage.

"Kate was arguably more reserved when she was first thrown into the spotlight several years ago," Stanton tells Marie Claire on behalf of Slingo (opens in new tab). "She behaved in a similar way Princess Diana did when she first got engaged to Prince Charles. Kate would always stay very close to William and continuously look towards him to seek his approval and reassurance."

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) and Prince Harry (L) pose with gold medal winning rower Sophie Hosking (C) at Team GB House in the Westfield Centre, Stratford, east London

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"Now, it’s very clear that Kate is less reliant on William and even when out with him, she maintains a subtle distance from her husband—proving she is more than capable of holding her own," Stanton adds.

"Kate also used to position her hands in front of her—another self-reassuring gesture which signifies feelings of anxiousness. However, these days she is seen making what is known as open palm gestures instead—doing so signifies not only confidence, but openness, genuineness and honesty. The difference in how she holds her hands during engagements suggest that she has grown into the large shoes that come with being an established member of the Royal Family."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Visit Wales

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But if the Duchess of Cambridge was a slow burner (who wouldn't be, in her position?), the Duchess of Sussex always displayed confidence in spades, according to Stanton.

"While Kate has arguably evolved over time in the spotlight, Meghan has maintained a sense of confidence and strength," the expert says. "So much so, that throughout her relationship with Harry she has been seen reassuring him during public appearances the couple make together and taking the lead."

meghan markle camilla

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For Stanton, this confidence came in part from Meghan Markle's experience as an actress.

"In the early days of her joining the Royal Family, Meghan was already familiar with being in the public eye and exhibited a high degree of confidence while stepping out with Harry," he says.

"At the time, Kate and William took great effort to ensure she felt welcome and part of the family and if we observe body language from their interactions back then, it was very much consistent with individuals that clearly shared a bond and got on very well.

"All four would regularly be seen matching and mirroring each other’s gesture and posture. This is an unconscious process which happens when people make a connection and build a rapport. It’s a sign of reciprocated trust on a non-verbal level."

Sadly, that bond seems to have been—if not broken—at least fairly damaged in recent months.

The Queen Attends A Service At Westminster Abbey Marking The Centenary Of WW1 Armistice

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Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.