The President of South Africa was welcomed to Buckingham Palace during what was Charles’ first state visit as King. Camilla joined her husband, and Kate and William were also present to greet the President.
Judi James spoke to Express.co.uk about the four senior members of the Royal Family’s body language yesterday as they marked their first state visit since the death of the Queen.
It seemed that Charles and Camilla, the latter especially, looked happy as Kate and William walked up the steps of the Royal Pavilion to greet and stand next to them.
The couple was smiling at Kate, perhaps appreciating her outfit, or simply her presence. Kate looked stunning in an all purple look, representing regality.
Judi said: “There were strong signals of positive anticipation from Charles as his daughter-in-law Kate walked up the steps to greet him.
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“His hands seemed to pause above his pockets and his warm eye-gaze looked focused on her, while Camilla appeared to perform an even warmer, affectionate smile aimed at William.”
However, Judi also noted signs of anxiety while analysing Camilla’s body language and facial expressions.
She continued: “There was a small gesture of anxiety from Camilla as the very elegant William and Kate approached up the steps as she lifted her bag in front of her torso in a barrier gesture.
“There is clearly a desire to show a unified front and a family vibe from the new top tier of the Firm though, with smiles, chatting, and polite body language signals all round.
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“Camilla seemed especially keen to promote a family look here, not just with her maternal-looking smiles but in the way she turned her head to join in the conversation between William and Kate.
“Kate’s dimpled smile and her raised brows showed a polite and attentive engagement as Camilla spoke to her across William, who adopts a fig leaf hand pose to suggest he is in listening rather than speaking mode.”
Camilla and Kate both looked sophisticated for yesterday’s event, the two women opting for block colour outfits – Camilla in blue and Kate in purple.
Both also wore brooches. Camilla’s was silver with a small blue gemstone at its centre, matching her coat dress.
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Kate’s brooch was even more special. It featured the Prince of Wales’ three feathers at its centre, from which dangled a teardrop-shaped emerald.
This brooch has special significance as it is one Diana, the late Princess of Wales, often wore during her lifetime.
Interestingly, even Camilla has worn the brooch – donning it in the years following Diana’s death.
The event yesterday was Kate’s first time wearing the piece as Princess of Wales, and it was a clear nod to her role thanks to the feathers.
After formally welcoming the President at the Royal Pavilion on Horse Guards Parade yesterday, the Guard of Honour gave a Royal Salute before being inspected by the President, and the South African National Anthem was played. The President and the Royal Family then travelled along The Mall to Buckingham Palace.
In the afternoon, the President viewed an exhibition in the Picture Gallery of items from the Royal Collection relating to South Africa.
The President later visited Westminster Abbey, where he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and took a tour of the Abbey, which included the memorial stone for Nelson Mandela, who served as President of South Africa between 1994 and 1999.
Today, November 23, the President is expected to visit Kew Gardens, accompanied by the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward.