‘Incredibly sad’ change in Sussexes from first appearance to last engagement

Meghan Markle looked like she was Prince Harry's "only friend" by the time they left the Royal Family in an "incredibly sad" change from their first public appearance, according to a body language expert.

The Duchess of Sussex celebrates her 40th birthday on August 4 and is successfully carving a career for herself in the US with husband Harry.

But their time within the Royal Family was mired by allegations of feuds and other struggles, with the Duke of Sussex since telling Oprah Winfrey he "felt trapped" within the system.

Body language expert Judi James has compared the couple's first official appearance as boyfriend and girlfriend in 2017 to their final royal engagement in 2020 and claimed they looked starkly different.

Speaking to Daily Star, she said: "Comparing the body language of this couple between their first public appearance in 2017 to their last, when they were at the Commonwealth Day service in 2020, in incredibly sad.

"[That's] not because of any erosion of their bonding signals as a couple, but because of their signals of external engagement and joy have clearly been so badly compromised."

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In the video showing the couple's first public appearance, Harry and Meghan held hands and walked closely beside each other as they entered the tennis court inside Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Canada.

The former Suits actress looked at Harry and gave him a sweet smile as they walked past the crowd.

Judi said: "Their mutual attraction was obvious and their choice of dress, with Meghan’s ripped jeans and boyfriend shirt, suggested a fresh energy that was expected to breathe new life into The Firm.

"They both appeared to be loving the attention and their hand-holding and touch rituals showed they were happy to nail their status together with some ongoing public displays of attentions."

Fast-forward to the Commonwealth Day Service in March 2020 and the couple looked starkly different.

The event has become infamous for the Sussexes' awkward interaction with Prince William and Kate Middleton.

But Judi also claimed the couple lacked the spark and energy that they showed at the Invictus Games.

She suggested Meghan was seen "pulling out all the stops" to look like a sociable royal but Harry talked mainly to her and occasionally fell into an expression of "dour reflection" during the quieter moments.

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"The sparkle was missing from Harry’s eyes and the sense of fun he was known for had completely vanished when they sat in the hub of his family," Judi explained.

"While it was Harry guiding and leading Meghan into the induction or royal life in 2017, we could now see Meghan providing the smiles and the strength to guide him through this last appearance before they quit the UK.

"Harry now looked as though Meghan was his only friend in the royal world and his rather haunted eye expression only warmed when he looked at her."

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