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The secret language

The secret language
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It’s not just hindsight that’s 20/20 – so too is body language, at least if you know what to look for. No one can read non-verbal cues quite so adeptly as our body language expert, Patti Wood, who helps us review the evolution of the relationship between Prince Charles and his first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Wood also gave us a glimpse into what Queen Elizabeth is secretly saying with her body language.

A subtle warning sign

A subtle warning sign
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Theirs was to have been a storybook romance, or so it seemed. When Prince Charles met Lady Diana Spencer for the first time in 1977, he was the 29-year-old heir apparent to the British throne, and she was the teenaged younger sister of the woman on whom the young prince had set his sights. Although Charles was the “most eligible bachelor in the world,” Lady Sarah Spencer was indifferent to the young prince.

It wasn’t until two years after that relationship fizzled that Prince Charles finally took an interest in Lady Diana. A brief courtship began, and six months later, the prince proposed. Here in late February 1981, right after announcing their engagement, the two pose informally outside Buckingham Palace, with Diana gently and passively resting her hand palm down on the crook of the Prince’s arm while the prince hides one hand inside his jacket. “It’s an early and subtle warning sign of Charles’ lack of commitment,” Wood notes. “He’s attempting to make the connection less intimate.”

Destined for doom

Destined for doom
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“During the engagement so many years ago, I could already see something wasn’t quite right between Prince Charles and Lady Diana,” Wood tells Reader’s Digest, pointing out how in this photo taken during the engagement, Diana is gazing away from Charles, her eyes hooded and looking so sad it appears tears are mere seconds away. Wood also notes how Diana’s shoulders are stiff and up near her ears while her arms are tense and still. It’s as if a “fear” response has been triggered, and she’s frozen in place. “She may be fearful of the cameras,” Wood points out, “but notice how Prince Charles [who arguably has been getting comfortable with cameras all his life], is also holding his arms stiffly by his side. It’s as if these two already know their impending nuptials are a mistake, but they’re powerless to do anything about it.

Don’t miss these 12 “facts” about Diana, Princess of Wales that just aren’t true.

And so they lived happily ever after…?

And so they lived happily ever after…?
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It was to have been the wedding of the century, nay, a wedding for the ages. And, in a sense, it was. Nearly 1 billion television viewers in 74 countries watched the two exchange vows at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the presence of 2650 guests as they wed on July 29, 1981. But that was just the first day of the rest of their lives, and judging by the dynamics at work in this photo of the newlyweds kissing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, things were about to slide downhill, fast. “See how she’s doing all the work?” Wood points out to Reader’s Digest. She’s clearly passionate about her new husband, but he does not share her ardour. It’s as if she’s literally “bending over backwards” to hold his attention.

The honeymoon’s over

The honeymoon’s over
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In the case of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, it would appear the honeymoon never really began. As Diana later recalled, she knew, even before the wedding that Charles didn’t love her the way she wanted to be loved — because of these four words Charles said offhandedly to a reporter. Then it only got worse. Throughout the honeymoon, Charles found reason after reason to call his former girlfriend (and future second wife), Camilla Parker Bowles. He also wore cufflinks monogrammed with the initials “C” and “C,” intertwined. But for those of us who were not there, the evidence can now be easily found in this photograph from the tail end of their honeymoon, when they were visiting Scotland. To Wood, it appears Diana is experiencing a cold chill, her shoulders up at her ears as Prince Charles awkwardly encircles her with his arm. While it could be that Diana was bristling at the presence of cameras, it seems, in hindsight, more that she senses his suppressed anger.

This wasn’t the “three of us” Diana was referring to

This wasn’t the “three of us” Diana was referring to
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“There were three of us in this marriage,” Diana famously told journalist Martin Bashir, “so it was a bit crowded.” The third she was referring to was not Prince William, who was born less than a year after the wedding, but to Parker Bowles, with whom Charles was involved in an extra-marital affair throughout most of his marriage to Diana. “What’s stunning about this photo taken on April 23, 1983, is how far Charles is sitting away from his wife and child,” Wood notes. “He sits cross-legged, his arms out of reach for comfort or play, his hands in his lap instead of reaching out to his new family.” As for Princess Diana, she is clearly engaged deeply with her new baby. Her focus is on William, not on the cameras, and not on her husband.

Don’t miss these photos of William acting like King.

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The marriage grows more crowded

The marriage grows more crowded
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In this photograph taken at a polo event in June 1984, the Princess of Wales, pregnant with Prince Harry, who will be born in September, has her back to Prince Charles, who is chatting with Barry Mannakee, a bodyguard for Diana, with whom Diana later admitted to having a long-term affair. Clues to the affair lay in Diana’s posture: her arms are folded tightly and her feet planted far apart as if in fight-mode. Charles aggressively leans into Mannakee, invading his space, perhaps to assert dominance, or perhaps in an attempt to extricate himself from the scene altogether. Mannakee, for his part, simply looks away. A year later, he would be transferred from his post because of his “inappropriate” relationship with Diana. Two years after that, he would be dead in a motorcycle crash.

Charles and the “other woman”

Charles and the “other woman”
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In this photo taken in January 1986 during a Swiss ski holiday, even if you weren’t aware that Charles had already begun rekindling his affair with Camilla, you would sense something is very much amiss in his marriage to Diana. These are two people who are so out of sync with one another, they can’t even get it together for the camera, according to Wood.

From bad to worse

From bad to worse
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Later in 1986, on a trip to Canada, the body language between Prince Charles and Princess Diana is so disconnected, it appears the two are not even a couple, Wood points out. “If you look at their sad expressions you might think they are at a funeral. See how Diana grips her hands, I would guess in an attempt to suppress her sadness.”

That “all is lost” moment

That “all is lost” moment
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By the end of 1986, this Christmas photo of the Wales family is a tragic testament to Diana being edged out of the royal family. In this otherwise warm and cuddly photo of familial bliss, it appears as if Diana were photoshopped in. In either case, it’s becoming clear that although Diana would always be a loving mother to her two precious princes, she was not long for the royal family.

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