They were supposed to be the couple we looked up to but from the start, there was "chilling" body language that proved that Lady Di and Prince Charles were poles apart.
The tumultuous relationship between Princess Diana and Prince Charles was something everyone knew. In fact, they didn't even have to say anything for everyone to figure out that all wasn't fine in paradise. And it all had to do with their body language when they were with each other.
Body language experts confirmed this when they analyzed their body language at key points in the couple's life, beginning with their engagement.
Looking utterly gorgeous in her blue dress while Prince Charles donned a dapper grey suit, the iconic photo of the future Prince and Princess of Wales is one image we will never be able to erase from our minds. They "looked" happy but their interview said otherwise.
When speaking to Express UK, Robin Kermode, a body language expert, analyzed Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s engagement interview. “It is particularly poignant to revisit the famous engagement interview after 36 years. We shouldn’t forget the scale of the media pressure on these two young people – a pressure that most of us couldn’t possibly handle,” Kermode said. It's essential to understand that at that point, the then 20-year-old Diana wasn't used to interviews.
He mentioned that in some cases, the face can say more than words. “Some of the clips appear to show a contrast between Charles and Diana. Charles looks assured while Diana often looks sadder when she is listening – her lips and mouth are held together, here eyebrows lifted and her cheeks pushed forward with watery eyes,” Kermode said.
“I think one of the most interesting phrases from Charles was the use of the word ‘business’ when asked about their courtship,” Kermode said. “He then spends several moments looking down avoiding the camera. His lip corner pull inwards and then his mouth is pulled tight and upwards suggesting sadness. We know that big decisions, like red, trigger emotions and sadness and joy can often be mixed together.”
Angela Rippon from BBC had the chance to interview Princess Diana and Prince Charles on the eve of their big day. After wishing them many happy years to come, she noticed something off. She explained, according to Express UK, “That expression on Diana’s face at the end speaks volumes, gosh."
“He looks at her and she just looks away, down at the floor. Goodness, maybe we should have read so much more into that. Those five seconds at the end of the interview. It might have told us so much more about what was to come." And this came from a journalist.
Then came the biggest day in Princess Diana's life. After all, she was about to enter a world rife with loneliness, paparazzi, and scandal. But even then body language expert, Judi James, found the People's Princess "close to tears."
“On her first few steps into the cathedral Diana’s veiled face is wearing the traditional bridal expression of a radiant smile,” James said. “Then her large eyes start to scan the scene inside the cathedral and her face does a sudden and very dramatic drop. Her mouth slopes downward and her eyes fall and for a moment she looks close to tears.”
“When she lifts her eyes there is even a moment of steeliness bordering on anger. It’s not until her dress designer comes to flounce the veil that she manages a girlish but slightly forced-looking smile in response. This constant flicking of extremes of expressions could be seen as just a sign of nerves but there is very little looking at her father for reassurance or the more signature ‘Shy Di’ expressions she was known for," she explained.
Not to mention, at the time, the relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla Bowles was well-known and the rumor mills had reached Princess Diana's ears long before their marriage. So when the wedding ceremony was starting, the distraught but composed bride was looking for Camilla.
James’ analysis of Diana’s body language reaffirmed this account. “Her eyes scour the guests on the way up the aisle and although there are reflected smiles for some there are also signals of anxiety and fluctuating emotions that would endorse her claim that she was actually looking for love-rival Camilla,” James said.
Charles' body language during the wedding was another door to his true feelings about what was happening. “Charles adopted an air of faint sadness as he waited for his bride, with his brows steepled and his eye-gaze distant and reflective,” James said. “You could see this as an expression of duty and formality but the camera shows the Queen absolutely beaming at her son so there was no great pressure on him to look poker-faced.”
“He flashes the ghost of a smile when his bride arrives and then a swift look up and down at her dress with no sign of appreciative or reassuring smiling,” she added.
Looking back, all of it makes sense. It's not to say that they haven't had their good moments. But it becomes clearer as to why the couple may have looked like they had everything sorted but yet couldn't be together. But this understanding doesn't make it any less heartbreaking.