Birthday Boy Prince William Is at the “Pinnacle” of His Confidence—and His Wife Princess Kate Has Played a Big Part

No more anxious gestures and fake smiles.

Prince William in a tux at the BAFTAs
(Image credit: Getty)

Today is Prince William’s 41st birthday, and according to a body language expert, his confidence has soared over the years—and is now at the “pinnacle” of confidence.

The future king appears to have shed anxious gestures he once shared with his younger brother, Prince Harry, said body language expert Darren Stanton, per The Mirror: “He’s become ever so more statesman-like in recent years,” Stanton said. “We don’t see any of the old gestures from him that he previously displayed, which denoted a lack of confidence or feeling like a fish out of water. He’s a completely different person from when he first started public appearances as a youngster.” 

Prince William smiling and pointing at the camera

(Image credit: Getty)

Stanton, speaking on behalf of Betfair Casino, continued “Some of the tell-tell gestures that we associate with William are what we call pacifying gestures, which are often used in moments of self-reassurance. We got these a lot with King Charles where he would put his hand inside his jacket. If you look at historic footage from Prince William and indeed Prince Harry, you will see that William inherited this gesture from his father. William often made this gesture whilst doing any public engagements or standing on the balcony with the Queen.”

Another gesture William would take on to self-soothe? “William would also play with his cufflinks during his early years,” Stanton said. “Again, this is a self-reassuring gesture, designed to soothe ourselves when we’re in situations that we’re finding stressful or when we feel that we’re not in total control. Over the years he’s been placed in lots of social situations where anybody would probably feel a little bit anxious. However, we tend not to see that gesture as much now.”

William also employed a fake smile to mask his nerves, Stanton said. “With Prince William, or with people generally, the most faked emotion is a smile, because we smile not just when we’re genuinely happy, but we also smile when we’re anxious, when we’re not feeling great—it becomes a mask,” he said, per The Daily Express. “The way we denote a fake smile is by something called crow’s feet at the side of the eyes. We used to see a lot of this with King Charles and also William.” 

Prince William and Kate Middleton smile at each other

(Image credit: Getty)

One reason for his confidence is his marriage to Princess Kate, who has also seen her confidence in the public eye grow over the years, Stanton said. “In terms of his development as a person, I think Kate has played a large part in his development,” he said. “When they met, the two of them were not that particularly confident people. However, they’ve both developed over the years.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Commonwealth Day service

(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to Kate, “she has played a major part in his development as a person, as a future monarch, and certainly when it comes to his degree of confidence in the world,” Stanton said. “She too has developed greatly over the years, even more so than William. She started off quite introverted, not really wanting to get involved, and now she’s become a more and more integral part of the royal family—especially since their marriage. These two are now considered to be the most senior members of the working royal family. I definitely believe Kate’s development of confidence has also helped William to feel more at ease.”

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.