Is Prince Harry copying Meghan Markle's accent? Body-language expert says he is playing 'protector and defender'

Judi James explained that the couple's body language suggested they were keen to let people know that the smiles they saw in photos were “masking tears and potential tragedy behind the scenes.”


                            Is Prince Harry copying Meghan Markle's accent? Body-language expert says he is playing 'protector and defender'
Communication and body language expert Judi James spoke about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's body language during the Oprah Winfrey interview (knightayton.co.uk and Getty Images)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s revelatory interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday, March 7, had several bombshells, including allegations of racism against a yet-unknown member of the royal family. While many have shown their support for Meghan Markle, others have floated less flattering theories, like Markle being jealous of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.

A new theory from a self-styled “leading communication and body language expert” suggests that Prince Harry has adopted elements of an American accent, with a rising inflexion and “blending of words”.

Judi James, who according to her website regularly appears on a number of high profile TV and radio programmes to analyze body language, said that being in lockdown with Markle would have sped up the Duke of Sussex’s adoption of the Californian English accent.

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In this handout image provided by Harpo Productions and released on March 5, 2021, Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on A CBS Primetime Special premiering on CBS on March 7, 2021. (Getty Images)

 

James told the Daily Mail, “Harry has been in lockdown with Meghan and he clearly adores her so it would be natural for him to pick up on some of her way of speaking, too. Once lockdown ends and he is socialising with other U.S. people I'd expect it to be even more dramatic. You can see that through a couple of things, ‘I’ comes out as ‘Ay’ and when he says ‘herself’ he stresses the self’.'

She further said, “He uses a scooping ritual with his vocal tone, scooping it into a rise at the end, turning statements into questions via vocal tone. ‘Together' has a linger on the ‘r’ as in ‘Togetherr’, and he blends two words together sometimes to create that slight drawl.'

James said the changes were “especially pronounced” during the Oprah Winfrey interview, and that his “overkill gesticulation” was particularly notable. She also said that Prince Harry's accent is likely to change more in the future. “I would have expected this accent change to have been more pronounced though, to be honest,” she said.



 

“Harry, like many of us, has a tendency to adapt to his surroundings by mirroring and it was a trait that his mother Diana was good at too,” she explained. “It can help create rapport as long as it's not too obvious [eg Tony Blair's mockney accent] and Harry was seen dressing like James Corden and rapping and jumping about in an echo of his behaviour during that interview.”

James also said that Prince Harry's body language created a “much stronger presence” than it did in the teaser trailers. According to her, Harry demonstrated that he has very much taken on the role of “protector and defender” in the marriage. She added further that Markle's “generally understated” body language made her delivery “all the more shocking and compelling”, and her cradling of her baby bump suggested “protective motherhood”.

James explained that the couple's body language suggested they were keen to let people know that the smiles they saw in photos were “masking tears and potential tragedy behind the scenes.”

Earlier in October 2020, when the Sussexes were part of a special edition of TIME 100 Talks, James had claimed, “Perhaps one of the most telling pieces of body language from the power couple came when they received an almost open invitation to pitch themselves for high political office. With rumours that Meghan could perhaps harbour White House-style ambitions, the moment to drop a non-verbal hint came when one of their guests promoted the idea of people getting ‘politically engaged and run for office themselves’.”

Completing her analysis, she said: "The couple’s response came after what looked like a time-delay of a few seconds before even Harry managed a poker-face option, applying an identical, enigmatic-looking rounded-cheek beam as his wife."

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