At Today’s Trooping the Colour, What Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis Didn’t Say Apparently Said It All

A body language expert dissects George and Charlotte’s protective gestures over their mother, Princess Kate, and why Louis’ typical antics tell us all we need to know.

The Wales family on the Buckingham Palace balcony at Trooping the Colour
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It has felt like an eternity, but really it’s just been six months since we saw the Wales family of five together—Christmas Day, actually, as they attended church at Sandringham alongside the rest of the royal family, as is tradition.

It was a return that saw the Princess of Wales looking as elegant as ever, Prince Louis dancing (and doing a little waving, too, as one does when one is a prince), and Princess Charlotte serving up a “don’t test me” look from inside the glass carriage she rode in alongside her mother, older brother Prince George, and younger brother Louis at today’s Trooping the Colour. (Dad Prince William took in the annual celebration of the monarch’s birthday on horseback.) 

Kate Middleton at Trooping the Colour

Kate's appearance at Trooping the Colour marks the first time the public has seen her on royal duty in nearly six months.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fashionwise, Kate and Charlotte pulled a mother-daughter twinning moment, as they’ve been known to do. Kate wore a white ribbon dress by Jenny Packham—a longtime Princess of Wales favorite—and a Philip Treacy hat; Charlotte wore the inverse of her mother’s color palette, donning a navy dress with white ribbon detailing, both seemingly nautical-inspired.

Kate and Charlotte have always shared a close bond, but, as body language expert Judi James told The Sun, Charlotte’s “protective” body language showed that, amid Kate’s cancer battle, her only daughter is stepping up to support her—and was her “wing-woman” at today’s event, James said.

“Charlotte seems to be acting as Kate’s wing-woman here, which is so sweet,” James said. “There were strong hints that Charlotte is the child primarily protecting and supporting Kate at this event. Sitting opposite her mother, she performed the kind of body language rituals that Kate would normally have done, smiling over her shoulder at the crowds and waving with enthusiasm. Like Kate, her smile was almost constant.”

Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte at Trooping the Colour

Could they be any sweeter?

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After riding in the carriage, “the three children got out first to form a sweet and very touching line facing their mother, almost to greet her as she alighted with an air of caution,” The Sun writes.

George and Louis turned to lead the way inside Buckingham Palace, “but Charlotte movingly performed the kind of military turn you would see on the parade ground, her hair flying out, looking for all the world as though she was Kate’s personal guard of honor,” James said. (Sorry, is it really dusty in here or something? My eyes are getting a bit watery…)

Then, as Kate and her three children assembled at the window of Buckingham Palace, James added that Charlotte’s support continued: “The nonverbal signals suggest Charlotte has stepped up to help take over some of her mum’s public role,” the body language expert said. “She stands at the front of the group next to Louis, and her beaming smile as she looks down on the parade ground suggests she has mirrored her mother’s famous techniques. We can even see her whispering from the side of her mouth to warn Louis to stand straight, and she straightens to pay attention herself for the playing of the national anthem.”

George stood directly in front of Kate and looked “more distracted, turning his head to the side as though keen to keep his mother within his peripheral vision,” she said, almost compelled to look after her and protect her, too. “But Kate is still very much ‘mummy’ here,” James added. “Louis turns to look up at her, and she bends to whisper into his ear and to chat to Charlotte.”

Prince Louis at Trooping the Colour

Louis being Louis might be the most uplifting signal of all amid the tumult of 2024 for the royal family.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince George of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, King Charles III, Queen Camilla and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburghon the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour on June 15, 2024 in London, England.

The family taking in the RAF flypast from the Buckingham Palace balcony at today's Trooping the Colour.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

But little Louis might have made the most meaningful nonverbal gesture of all, James said: “Louis probably performed what should be one of the most telling ‘announcement’ messages of the family, though,” she said. “Standing in front of his mother and beside his sister, he informed a concerned nation that they are a tension and stress-free group.”

How so? Well, by being Louis. “A huge, exaggerated ‘roar’ yawn was his first signal, but then he began to do a little jig to the music, making Kate laugh and Charlotte offer what looked like a telling-off,” James said. “If Louis is feeling happy and comfortable enough to be his usual playful self, then we can probably also relax and enjoy these first glimpses of Kate.”

Kate announced yesterday that she would be present at Trooping the Colour, and today shared a behind-the-scenes look of the day on Instagram. Though she did say she’d return intermittently and begin working from home, her health continues to be top priority after her cancer diagnosis earlier this year—and Kensington Palace has confirmed that she will return to royal duty when she gets the all-clear from her medical team. 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.