How Kate Middleton's body language has changed since her royal wedding

Kate Middleton has gone from a ‘self-effacing’ newlywed to ‘radiating confidence and resilience like the Queen’ since marrying Prince William – and the couple’s love is ‘stronger than ever,’ body language expert claims

  • Prince William and Kate Middleton wed on April 29 2011 at Westminster Abbey 
  • Body language expert Judi James reflected on Kate Middleton’s 10 years as royal
  • Said Duchess of Cambridge, 39, has become ‘dazzlingly confident’ over years   

Kate Middleton has gone from being a ‘self-effacing’ newlywed to a ‘resilient’ member of the royal family since marrying Prince William ten years ago, a body language expert has claimed.  

The Duke, 38, and Duchess of Cambridge, both 39, tied the knot at Westminster Abbey on April 29 2011 in a ceremony that was watched by 17.6million worldwide. 

Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, Judi James has told how ten years, three children and thousands of engagements later, Kate has gone from a ‘nervous, self-effacing royal newbie’ on the day her engagement to Prince William was made public in November 2010, to a ‘pillar member of the royal family who echoes the Queen’s resilience and radiates confidence.’ 

She notes how Kate portrayed signs of ‘nervousness’ through her rigid fingers and used her bag as a protective ‘barrier’ during her first official royal engagement when meeting Barack Obama and his wife Michelle at Kensington Palace in 2010.

But has come a long way since, showing signs of ‘contagious confidence’ and an ‘intense eye-gaze’ which offered a flattering ego-boost for her husband Prince William on a trip to Manor Farm near Darlington on Tuesday. 

Pictured left to right: front row: Miss Grace van Cutsem, Miss Eliza Lopes, Prince Philip, the Queen, Prince William, Kate Middleton, the Honourable Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Lady Louise Windsor, Master William Lowther-Pinkerton. Back row: the Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex, Mr Michael Middleton, Carol Middleton, James Middleton and Pippa Middleton

Judi also explained how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – parents of Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five and Prince Louis, three – had taken on challenges and moments of upheaval in their stride – adding that their love is ‘stronger than ever before.’ 

‘Kate’s body language over the ten years since her wedding show subtle but powerful changes in both her personality and her status and influence in the royal Firm,’ she said. 

‘Enduringly elegant and with her pitch-perfect smile, Kate has always echoed her husband’s cautious and often wary approach to public displays, carefully avoiding the more revealing body language that could encourage the kind of rabid, soap opera interest that blighted William’s parents’ marriage years before.’ 

‘But within those parameters we can still see Kate grow from the rather shy and self-effacing woman of her engagement photos to the dazzlingly confident and self-assured woman taking a more actively matriarchal role in the current hierarchy of The Firm.’

1. Engagement announcement – 16 November 2010

Judi James reflected on how Kate Middleton’s body-language evolved since her wedding to Prince William on April 29 2011. The body-language expert said Kate looked more ‘traditional’ than her late mother-in-law Lady Diana in her engagement pictures with Prince William, taken on 16 November 2010

Judi explained that in her first days in the royal limelight, Kate looked more ‘traditional’ than her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.  

‘With her hand draped over William’s arm and her head-tilt and slightly self-effacing smile, Kate looked like a more traditional and even “safe” royal bride-to-be than the besotted, teenage Diana or the flirty, fun-loving Fergie of a previous generation,’ she commented.

The expert also went on to note how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared ‘mature’ and goal-oriented from the very beginning of their relationship. 

‘Kate and William had a more mature relationship so their body language signals suggested shared goals, an understanding of each other’s personalities and a knowledge of how all things royal worked rather than a roaringly volatile and passionate romance,’ she commented. ‘Their double act looked calmly professional as well as loving.’ 

She continued: ‘Kate’s appearance attracted admiration, but her body language wasn’t emotionally revealing enough to stimulate over-interest.’

‘This was a smart move, as was the way that the couple took off for an idyllic private life together in Anglesey for the first few years of their marriage.’

2. Wedding – 29 April 2011

Reflecting on the royal couple’s wedding day, which took place at Westminster Abbey in London, Judi noted how Kate showed signs of ‘calm enjoyment’ throughout the day, and embraced her role as a ‘Disney Princess.’ 

She commented: ‘Kate’s signals of calm enjoyment made the wedding a pleasure from start to finish with no heart-stopping moments or emotional incontinence,’ she commented. 

Judi said Kate radiated ‘calm enjoyment’ on her wedding day and embraced her role as a ‘Disney Princess.’ Pictured, on their wedding day with bridesmaids and pageboys

In an official photograph released by Clarence House, the newlywed bride and groom can be seen smiling in the throne room at Buckingham Palace alongside bridesmaids and page boys, and other members of the Royal Family. 

‘Kate became a Disney princess, standing upright and elegant beside her dashing husband and with her pitch-perfect smile suggesting a look of happy joy,’ Judi added.

3. Meeting Barack and Michelle Obama – 24 May 2011 

Kate’s first royal engagement following her honeymoon was meeting US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, pictured. Judi said Kate showed a mix of nervous anxiety, suggesting she felt she needed to grow into her role as a royal

Fresh from their honeymoon, Prince William and Kate’s first royal engagement as a married couple was meeting the then president of the United States Barack Obama and his wife Michelle at Kensington Palace.

Wearing a cream-coloured fitted dress with black swede heels and a clutch bag, an excited Kate looked nervous, but still charming during the photographed interactions. 

‘Kate’s first royal engagement showed a newbie-style mix of nervous anxiety that emerged in some self-effacing, low-status signaling and the kind of charm and fun signals that she still shows today,’ Judi said.  

‘Meeting the super-charismatic Michelle Obama here, Kate looks in awe of the First Lady.’

Judi went on to say how Kate appears to be trying to hide her nervousness by bringing one hand up to her waist and raising her hand with the clutch bag to create a ‘barrier,’ suggesting an element of shyness.  

‘Her fingers are rigid and splayed to show inner tension and a desire to do everything right, although her wide smile suggests she is also enjoying the meeting,’ Judi commented.  

‘Body language signals like this hinted that the non-royal Kate felt she needed to grow into her royal role and “earn her spurs” before flexing her status muscles.’

4. Visit to Cardiff – 8 December 2020 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pictured in Cardiff during their Christmas tour in 2020. Judy said Kate showed confidence, and that she wasn’t afraid of leading the conversation, while working with William as a team

According to Judi, ten years after her engagement, Kate, now an established member of the royal family, ‘stood her own’ during royal engagements. 

On a visit to Cardiff as part of the Christmas tour she undertook with Prince William on December 8 2020, the mother-of-three, draped in a long red coat with a tartan scarf, boasted confidence and beamed throughout the day.  

‘The change in Kate here is impressive,’ noted the body language expert. ‘Her choices of strong primary colours show she has grown comfortable with the spotlight and is happy to display more assertive and confident body language signals.’

Judi went on to explain how Kate has developed her own independent public persona, but was always part of a ‘double-act’ with William. 

‘Kate’s strong use of eye contact with their hosts on visits and virtual meetings show Kate is comfortable leading or even hosting the conversations, although the way she and William take it in turns to lead shows,’ she explained. 

She added it was ‘a skill of seamless “swapping’”that never once features the kind of eye-rolling or micro-grimacing that might suggest competitiveness or jealousies. 

‘Kate and William have always shown strong mirroring to suggest a like-minded team dynamic but recently that mirroring has become even more intense and subliminal, showing those qualities have increased throughout their marriage.’

5. Visit to  School21 in east London – 11 March 2021 

Judi explained that during a visit to School21 in East London following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Kate showed resilience and confidence in the eye of the storm  

A visit to School21 was the first the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made an appearance following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, where the couple suggested a member of the royal family had questioned which colour their unborn child would be.  

‘After the fall-out of the Oprah interview Kate showed a spirit of resilience and continuity that the Queen has always been famous for,’ Judi commented.  

‘During this visit to a school it was William who erupted with a verbal denial and who showed a fierce desire to protect his wife. Kate, however, not only chose a scene-stealing pink coat to wear, but her body language suggested it was very much business as usual despite the on-going dramas.’

Judi went on to say that while Kate used a barrier gesture by holding her bag in front of her torso, she generally displayed confidence. 

‘Here she was back to the more open and slightly splayed arm gestures that illustrated the new-found confidence she had obtained as she stepped in terms of profile and appearances during the pandemic,’ she added. 

The body language expert also noted how ‘mirroring’ was evident – with the couple’s ‘like-bodied’ displays suggesting like-minded thinking and shared life goals (pictured) 

During the engagement, Prince William was asked by Sky News reporter Inzamam Rashid, ‘Is the Royal Family a racist family?’ to which he replied: ‘We’re very much not a racist family.’ 

Judi pointed out that while William was clearly impelled to speak he also used avoidance tactics – walking off quickly towards Kate and holding out an arm behind her back to steer or usher her away. 

Commenting on how their bond seems stronger now than ever before, Judi continued: ‘Although still not a man over-keen on the PDAs, William’s recent use of intentional gestures do show a new desire to touch or even hug his wife in public.’

‘They are often truncated or mimicry rituals, like holding one arm out behind Kate’s waist to steer and protect or even when he held both arms out towards her recently when he was joking and laughing in public.’

‘This more protective behaviour has looked like a response to the fall-out from the Oprah interview but it has shown us glimpses of William’s more caring side with Kate.’

The body language expert also noted how ‘mirroring’ was evident – with the couple’s ‘like-bodied’ displays suggesting like-minded thinking and shared life goals. 

She added: ‘Recently though it has become even stronger though, with the couple sitting and walking in near-identical poses. This isn’t conscious mimicry for effect, either. Often they can be seen doing subliminal mirroring when they are apart or out of eye range.’ 

6. The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral – 17 April 2021 

Kate emerged as a ‘matriarchal’ figure during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh on April 17,  pictured, comforting her father-in-law Charles and herding William and Harry together during their first meeting in more than a year

The funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh was a solemn occasion for the royal family to reunite amid the coronavirus pandemic, with all senior royals rallying around the Queen in her moment of need. 

Kate emerged as a matriarchal figure during the ceremony, bringing estranged brothers William and Harry together.  

‘After some seismic dramas, rifts and scandal in the Firm and now the loss of the man who everyone said they turned to with their problems, Kate is gently emerging as a matriarchal figure in the royal family in the style of The Queen Mother and The Queen herself,’ Judi commented. 

‘It’s a role she is presently sharing with Sophie Wessex and, with Camilla appearing less keen to take a firm hand in terms of family dynamics and problems, Kate has stepped up with confidence and ease.’ 

Judi explained the way Kate placed a comforting arm around her father-in-law Charles as he teared up, and how she herded William and Harry together placed her in an important role in the dynamics of the royal family.’ 

She continued: ‘Neither were performed tentatively. Her support and compassion for her father-in-law looked spontaneous and her herding of William and Harry suggested a firm sense of courage and an expectation of being obeyed.’

7. Manor Farm near Darlington – 27 April 2021

Judi noted that Kate uses an intense eye-gaze and wide smile as she listens to William talk to create a flattering ego-boost for her husband,’ Judi added. Pictured, visiting Manor Farm in Little Stainton, Durham on Tuesday

On Tuesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were given a tour of the fifth-generation family-run Manor Farm near Darlington, where they visited the cattle, calving and lambing sheds with owners Clare Wise and Stewart Chapman.

According to Judi, although Kate has adopted the elegant regal and super-stylish look to perfection, she always looks the most ‘Kate’ when she’s wearing those favourite long brown boots and jeans and getting stuck into more natural, enthusiastic and practical appearances. 

Kate opted to rewear her favourite pair of Penelope Chilvers boots, which she was first seen sporting at the Game Fair at Blenheim Palace in August 2004.

The boots made another appearance exactly a year later as Kate attended the Gatcombe Festival of Eventing in Gloucestershire.

As the Duchess found her feet in the royal family, the boots have remained a staple for the mother-of-three. 

The body language expert added that Kate looked ‘genuinely relaxed’ when she was pictured clambering out of a tractor (pictured)

‘Kate looks genuinely relaxed and motivated here, either clambering out of a tractor or rubbing her hands in a gesture of anticipation as she chats with farmers by the cow shed,’ Judi noted. 

‘Her smile suggests authentic enjoyment that her mirrored gesticulation shows she shares with William and as the couple walk together it’s possible to see signals of ‘contagious confidence.’

The body language expert when on to give the example of Prince William’s wide stride and puffed chest suggested elevated confidence that look likely to have been prompted by his wife’s presence and her signals of ‘encouragement and support.’

Judi also highlights that when walking alone together, the couple show increased signs of intimacy, which tend to be prompted by Kate.

‘She uses an intense eye-gaze and wide smile as she listens to William talk to create a flattering ego-boost for her husband,’ Judi added. 

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