Queen Elizabeth II at 96: A Body Language Expert on Her Genuine Smile, "Wicked Sense of Humor" and Relationship With Kate Middleton

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Queen Elizabeth in tiara
(Image credit: Getty)

Happy birthday, Your Majesty! Queen Elizabeth II turns 96 today, April 21, and continues her iconic 70 years on the throne.

Looking back on her unprecedented reign, body language expert Darren Stanton was struck by how genuine she has always seemed—quite a feat for someone so often bang smack in the limelight.

"Over the years, the Queen has never appeared to fake her emotion," Stanton tells Marie Claire on behalf of Betfair Casino (opens in new tab). "The most faked emotion is that of a smile, yet the Queen’s always seems to be genuine. She has a very encouraging smile and it has been reported by those that have met her that in that moment she’s engaging with you, it feels as though she has her own forcefield around her. She’s only focused on you and interested in you.

"Looking at the various royal engagements the Queen has attended over the years, she has never not seemed genuinely happy to be interacting with and meeting members of the public or other important figures—a character trait she has retained to this day."

But just because "the Queen has always adopted a sense of authority in her posture" and isn't one for over-the-top displays of emotion doesn't mean she doesn't know how to have fun.

"While she still continues to follow strict royal protocols, at times we have seen the Queen displaying her wicked sense of humour and appearing young at heart, especially when pictured at the races, and she does so all while retaining her grace," Stanton says.

Prince Harry Queen Elizabeth

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As for her relationship with various family members, the expert points out that the monarch seems particularly fond of the Duchess of Cambridge.

"When it comes to her relationships with other royals, it’s clear the Queen has a great deal of affection for Kate Middleton," he says. "Often the pair are seen matching and mirroring each other’s body position and gestures when pictured together.

"They not only adopt each other’s postures, but both royals are known for always displaying a genuine emotion. She enjoys a similar relationship with William and I saw this same affection towards Harry and Meghan Markle during the early stages of their engagement."

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.