Prince Harry showed ‘high levels of tension and anxiety’ during UN speech, expert claims

The Duke of Sussex spoke on a number of global issues such as climate change and the war in Ukraine

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Prince Harry's body language during his keynote UN speech suggested "high levels of tension and anxiety", an expert has claimed.

The Duke of Sussex spoke on Monday at the United Nations about seeking insight from the late Nelson Mandela during a time of global uncertainty and urged countries to take action on climate change.

While Harry gave a "confident" delivery, body language expert Judi James says this symbolised a struggle with some tough emotions.

Ms James said: "His style of delivery was more presidential than princely at the UN. His keynote was delivered in a somber, slow, authoritative style that pitched him as the expert.

Prince Harry appeared to display "high levels of tension and anxiety", according to Judi James
Prince Harry appeared to display "high levels of tension and anxiety", according to Judi James

"He didn’t back away from taking a ‘tell’ approach, even when it came to Mandela himself.

"[But] Harry’s underlying body language rituals suggested high levels of tension and anxiety underlying the confident and hard-hitting delivery."

Ms James believes Harry and Prince Charles adopt a similar technique during speeches, which she dubs as "barrier rituals", something the Duke of Sussex used to full effect during his speech on Monday.

Prince Harry spoke to the conference about global issues such as the war in Ukraine and climate change.
Prince Harry spoke to the conference about global issues such as the war in Ukraine and climate change.

She told the Mirror: "He arrived in the building performing a lengthy self-comfort/barrier ritual that involved a truncated gesture of appearing to button his jacket and he was still performing that truncated ritual once he stepped on stage and walked to the lectern.

"An unfulfilled gesture like this is all about the feelings of self-comfort rather than the action itself. Prince Charles pats his pockets and fiddles with his cuffs while Harry pretended to button his jacket, fiddle with his tie and pat his stomach.

"This allows both to raise their hands and arms in front of their torsos in a protective barrier, suggesting some nerves."

Harry used the speech to warn about the impact of climate change on Africa and the world.

Prince Harry was accompanied by Meghan Markle to the conference.
Prince Harry was accompanied by Meghan Markle to the conference.

"This crisis will only grow worse, unless our leaders lead, unless the countries represented by the seats in this hallowed hall make the decisions - the daring, transformative decisions - our world needs to save humanity," he said.

The Duke was accompanied by his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the couple held hands as they walked into U.N. headquarters in New York City to mark Nelson Mandela International Day, held annually on the former South African president's birthday.

In the U.N. General Assembly hall, Harry spoke about the threats from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, what he called the reversal of constitutional rights in the United States and the "weaponizing" of lies and disinformation.

"We are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom - the cause of Mandela's life," he said.