‘Alpha’ Prince William undergone ‘profound change’ during pandemic – body language expert

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Prince William, 38, showed his support for NHS workers on Friday by taking part in a video call with staff at a London hospital. A body language expert who analysed the clip for Express.co.uk has claimed the Duke’s mannerisms have altered to suit virtual engagements.

Kensington Palace shared a new clip of William speaking to hospital workers on Friday night.

The tweet read: “We are so thankful for the work of our incredible NHS staff, at such a challenging time.

“Prince William spoke to staff from Homerton University Hospital in London to hear about their experiences in recent weeks, and to offer his thanks for their continued efforts.”

During the video call, Prince William said: “You’re all in my thoughts and Catherine and I, and all the children, talk about all of you guys every day.”

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He added: “So we’re making sure the children understand the sacrifices that all of you are making.”

Body language expert and author Judi James analysed the clip for Express.co.uk and shared her findings.

According to the analyst, William, like all working members of the Royal Family, has dramatically adapted his body language to suit virtual engagements during the pandemic.

Judi told Express.co.uk: “The video conference style of our business and social conversations during the pandemic has changed the way we all communicate, but for the royals that change has been even more profound and important.”

According to Judi, video calls and virtual engagements have prompted younger royals like William to drop some of their traditional mannerisms.

The expert claimed technology has levelled the playing field and done away with some of the hierarchy that usually exists between royals and members of the public.

She said: “Video conferencing has not only put them in touch with people in a very equal way that would not have occurred before, it has also put their own body language signals under the microscope in terms of authenticity and an ability to connect.

“Video talks are the great levellers in terms of status.”


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She added: “Unlike the royal visits that have been the traditional way for people like William, Charles and the Queen to meet their ‘subjects’, these communications involve no new spruced-up premises and people waiting nervously in a line to mangle their way through a few moments of brief and often embarrassed small-talk.

“Video links pin each participant up there on the screen, sitting staring into the camera in an identical way.”

Judi claims William has abandoned his ‘alpha’ ways and adopted a more ‘humble’ stance in recent months.

The expert added: “It strips the ‘royal’ out of the body language and what we are left with is a set of very new skills in action for royals like William, who are used to being the central, high-ranking and hosted alpha in every group they meet.”

They added: “Video links also create the illusion of proximity, with the royal and the other people on the call sitting face-to-face and face-monitoring in a much less formal scenario.

“If the workers William is meeting here had been meeting him on a hospital visit it is likely they wouldn’t have found themselves studying his facial and eye expressions in as much detail as they can through the filter of their screens.”

According to Judi, the future king seems more at ease in the absence of “royal flunkies.”

She added: “Nobody is hosting or worrying about protocol and someone like William is not appearing surrounded by security and royal flunkeys.

“As a result, William other royals have produced some evolved body language techniques and William, in particular, seems to have adapted well.

“Speaking to NHS staff here he looks genuinely humble as he tells them how he and Kate are teaching their children about ‘the sacrifices you make’.

“When he does this he performs a powerful ritual with his eyes to suggest his comments are genuine.

“When he tells them the NHS are ‘In my thoughts…’ his eyes move to his left and his blink rate accelerates, suggesting recalled memory and a burst of adrenalin prompted by modesty and emotion.

“As he tells them he and Kate are ‘making sure the children understand…’ his eyes perform an eye arc, moving upwards and down again to suggest inclusive thinking.

“His next step is to go into intense listening mode, which is vital as he hears each person in turn on his screen.”

According to Judi, William’s facial expressions convey real empathy for the people he is speaking to.

She said: “His emphatic mouth clamp gesture signals to them that he is there to listen and learn rather than talk and he purses his lips and frowns slightly to show concern at what he is hearing.

“He also uses a mirroring technique, changing his body language subtly to match the person he is listening to, smiling and laughing with one hospital worker and keeping a more serious face with another.

“William’s nodding is another vital sign of active listening and the pace is important to show empathy.”

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