Skip to main content

Prince Harry's Gesture With Melania Trump Decoded (Photos)

Prince Harry's Gesture With Melania Trump Decoded (Photos) Promo Image

A strange photo of Prince Harry and first lady Melania Trump posing together has received some expert analysis.

Body language experts have given their opinions about the picture, which was taken in September during the Invictus Games in Toronto, HuffPost reports.

The games, which were held this year from Sept. 23-30, are described on the official website as "an international sporting event for wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women, both currently serving and veterans." It also states that the even uses "the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding of and respect for those who serve their country."

In Harry's controversial photo with the first lady, she stood with her arms pointed stiffly down at her sides, while Harry's hand was half-tucked awkwardly into his jacket. His ring and middle fingers are seen tucked inside his coat along with his thumb, while he held his pinky and pointer fingers outside.

Some social media users thought Harry's hand positioning was a satanic gesture, either signaling that he himself is the devil or else that he was surrounded by the spirit of the devil.

Image placeholder title

The controversy attracted the attention of two renowned body language experts, each of whom weighed in on the matter in statements to HuffPost.

Patti Wood, who bills herself as "the gold standard of body language experts," agreed that Harry's hand gesture had satanic overtones, but she disagreed with the interpretations given on social media.

"This is called the horn or the devil's horn, and what people are saying in the media about it is not correct," she said. "It is not a sign that he's the devil, but rather a warning off of evil spirits. It's a protective gesture against evil or darkness and illness." 

But she said it could also be a sign of Harry comforting himself.

Image placeholder title

"I've seen world leaders in photo shoots with Trump and I see a lot of what are called self-comfort cues," she said. "This would be considered one of those. It looks like the devil's horn but it is also hand to belly. At the very least it would be a comfort cue, and show a lot of tension and a need to protect his central core." 

Regarding the first lady's pose, Wood said: "If you look at their smiles, hers has an enormous amount of tension. Her look is slitted eyes, closed eyes, which we do in tension. We also close our eyes when we want to attack."

Ex-FBI agent Joe Navarro also lent his body language expertise to the photo.

He took a more conservative approach, pointing out that there are numerous factors which could have led to Harry's odd hand positioning. 

"Had the photographers loitered too long? Is there something else going on?" he asked. "I have to wonder, was he going to unbutton his jacket and then changed his mind? Was he in prep for sitting and then they asked him to stand again to do more photos? To me, you can't draw too many inferences from the photo. I wouldn't personally read too much into that."

He does concede that there is "some psychological discomfort" apparent in the image.

"The look of his face, the look of his hand is very unusual, except for the fact that he and his brother have a tendency to cover their belly which is a self-soothing behavior to deal with a bit of tension."

But nothing more than that should be read into the picture, he insists. "All we can say is that it is unusual, but we can't automatically say he intended it to be this or that," he said.

Sources: HuffPost, Invictus Games, Patti Wood / Featured Image: DoD News/Flickr / Embedded Images: Getty Images via HuffPost

Popular Video