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  • King Charles III, Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince William, and Kate Middleton were part of a formal welcome for President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa. 
  • A body language expert says Camilla Parker Bowles exhibited a “small gesture of anxiety” as Prince William and Kate Middleton came near.  
  • Camilla Parker Bowles seemed to use her handbag to create a “barrier gesture.” 
  • A “united front” and “family vibe” was also on display, according to an expert. 
Camilla Parker Bowles, who exhibited a 'small sign of anxiety' at a Nov. 22 state visit event, stands next to Prince William and Kate Middleton
Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince William, and Kate Middleton | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The royal family rolled out the welcome wagon ahead of a Nov. 22 state dinner. A formal welcoming ceremony had no shortage of pomp and circumstance. National anthems were played and guards were inspected. However, a body language expert spotted a potential sign of “anxiety” from Camilla Parker Bowles when Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived. 

Camilla Parker Bowles seemingly used her handbag as a ‘barrier’ when Prince William and Kate Middleton headed toward her, expert says

Body language expert Judi James examined the ceremonial welcome by King Charles III and the queen consort. She noted interactions from early on as particularly telling (via Express). 

Specifically when the Prince and Princess of Wales arrived with President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa. The trio had met at London’s Corinthia Hotel before traveling to the Royal Pavillion together (via

When it came time to say hello to her stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, James noticed a movement from Camilla that hinted at some possible discomfort. She flagged a “small gesture of anxiety” from the 75-year-old “as the very elegant William and Kate approached up the steps.”

So what did Camilla do exactly? “She lifted her bag in front of her torso” in what James described as a “barrier gesture.”

It marked an ever-so-brief moment during the state visit. However, not the only moment James picked up on. 

King Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, William, and Kate gave off a ‘desire to show a united front’

Regardless of any possible anxiety on Camilla’s part, James remarked that the foursome seemed eager to demonstrate a “family vibe.” 

“Smiles, chatting, and polite body language signals all round” indicated “a desire to show a unified front and a family vibe from the new top tier of the Firm,” she said. 

In the expert’s opinion, the queen consort had been, at one point during the welcome, “especially keen to promote a family look.” 

She did it “not just with her maternal-looking smiles but in the way she turned her head to join in the conversation between William and Kate,” James explained. 

Meanwhile “Kate’s dimpled smile and her raised brows showed a polite and attentive engagement as Camilla spoke to her across William, whose “fig leaf hand pose” suggested he was in “listening rather than speaking mode.”

Camilla Parker Bowles, who a body language expert said exhibited a 'small gesture of anxiety' as Prince William and Kate Middleton approached during a welcome ceremony for a Nov. 22 state visit, smiles standing next to Prince William, and Kate Middleton
Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince William, and Kate Middleton | Paul Grover – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Body Language Expert Says Prince William and Kate Middleton’s ‘Royal Smiles’ Were Nowhere to Be Seen in Wales

Camilla Parker Bowles previously shared she isn’t one for the spotlight

Nothing happens in a vacuum so it’s important to consider what else is known about Camilla and public appearances. Long before the Nov. 22 state dinner, she revealed her dislike of getting up in front of crowds. 

To the point where she’s felt “seriously sick” before speeches. On one occasion, her first big speech, she even considered making an escape and going home. 

With that in mind, having all eyes on her — and the king, William, and Kate — at the state visit welcome ceremony might’ve simply been uncomfortable. Hence, the barrier gesture. 

While it’s impossible to know whether or not her discomfort with the spotlight presented itself as a barrier gesture, one thing is certain; Camilla has more eyes on her as the queen consort. 

Showbiz Cheat Sheet acknowledges conditions and cultures can impact body language and is sensitive to all backgrounds.