Did You Catch the Hidden Message In Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Holiday Card?

Don’t worry—a body language expert did.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s Tuesday afternoon—let’s overanalyze the Sussex holiday card, shall we? Cool. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose a photo from September and the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf, Germany—specifically the closing ceremony of the Games—as their photo this year. Many were disappointed that we didn’t get to see a glimpse of the ever-growing Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet as we have in holiday cards past, but can you blame the two for being protective over their children’s privacy? (Archie is four-and-a-half; Lili is two-and-a-half.)

“We wish you a very happy holiday season,” the card read. “Thanks for all the support in 2023!” It also links to their annual Archewell Foundation impact report, which features a video highlighting some of the nonprofit’s work throughout the past year.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

(Image credit: Courtesy of Archewell)

During an appearance on the red carpet for the Variety Power of Women event in L.A., Meghan was asked by a reporter about her favorite holiday tradition. “That’s a great question,” she said. “Our little ones are little, and we’re enjoying every moment of it.”

But there’s a detail of the Sussex holiday card you may have missed, a body language expert told The Daily Express. Darren Stanton believes that, while the card may look more “corporate,” that Harry and Meghan are subtly communicating their happiness to the public. (In the photo, both beam widely.)

“The picture shows an enthusiastic-looking Meghan and Harry in a glitzy setting,” Stanton said. “It’s a good way of promoting their charity and putting them in a positive frame, as they both look happy to be there. I think the biggest thing about this Christmas card is that the picture was taken during the Invictus Games, which is one of their biggest achievements of the past year. It was at a time when Harry was his happiest, and Meghan was there to support him. The picture shows the pair in a very happy and joyous state of mind, which is obviously what they wanted to convey.”

Stanton continued “They appear completely excited, enthusiastic, and hopeful of the year ahead in terms of new projects and working on the Invictus Games again. They’re trying to convey that their brand is strong, if not stronger than ever.” There will actually not be an Invictus Games in 2024; the next iteration of the Games will be in 2025 in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada.

Wales family Christmas card 2023

(Image credit: Josh Shinner/The Prince and Princess of Wales)

Stanton said that the Sussex card had a more business-like feel than that of the Prince and Princess of Wales, which featured a black and white image of them and their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

“With Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Christmas card, they opted for a more traditional and low-key look this year,” Stanton said. “They were dressed in smart casual clothing in a black and white image. There was no sense of them being linked to royalty. They just seemed like normal people. In comparison, Meghan and Harry have released a far more glitzy, over the top card for 2023. It’s not just from the couple, but on behalf of their Archewell organization. It’s clear the pair have decided to go with a more corporate and less personal feel, which is a slightly different approach to William and Kate.”

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.