Prince Harry seemed like a ‘very different’ man during Invictus Games appearance as he ditched family ‘references’

A body language expert has highlighted some telling gestures that show the Prince has 'lowered his ego'

Prince Harry
(Image credit: Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

A body language expert has said Prince Harry seemed to be a ‘very different’ man during his recent Invictus Games appearance as he ditched family ‘references’ and appeared like 'less of a celebrity' in front of the crowds.

  • Prince Harry appeared 'more mature and more grown-up' during his recent Invictus Games opening speech, with a body language expert highlighting how he avoided 'personal references' and remained 'low-key.'
  • The expert believes 'he has lowered the ego' as he appeared like 'less of a celebrity' despite the cheers and standing ovation he was given by fans. 
  • In other royal news, Why Prince William is teaching Prince George, Charlotte and Louis to be 'losers'.

Following his flying visit to the UK on the eve of the first anniversary of the late Queen's death, where he opened up on the ‘challenges’ of parenting at the WellChild Awards in London, Prince Harry is spending the week in Germany for the Invictus Games. 

And, while Prince William and Kate Middleton were ‘nervous’ Prince Harry would ‘overshadow’ first anniversary of the Queen’s death with ‘another outburst’ directed at the family, it appears they were worried for no reason as Harry has kept things more 'low-key' and professional than ever before.

On 9 September, Harry appeared solo in Dusseldorf as he made a speech during the opening ceremony of the 2023 Games, addressing the game's competitors and fans from the stage to much appreciation. On his way into the stadium, he also met with some young fans and dropped his 'Prince' title in an unexpected and utterly 'adorable' way.

However, despite the 'standing ovation' and 'cheers' he received while on stage, one body language expert has shared that Harry appears to have 'lowered his ego' as he kept attention off of himself by avoiding any 'personal references' throughout his speech. This is a change in the Prince, the expert says, whose 'signature' style tends to revolve around making 'references about himself.'

Prince Harry

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation)

Speaking to The Mirror, body language expert Judi James revealed, "This was a very different Harry from previous years and different from the Harry we normally see when his wife is either on stage introducing him or sitting supporting him in the audience. Despite the cheer, chants and standing ovation, Harry’s body language behaviour made him look more mature, more grown-up, less of a celebrity and more low-key. There was no playing to the crowd or showboating.

"His delivery was more like a team coach or a teacher, pacing the stage with the mic clutched in one hand and the other doing ‘finger or fist’ rituals, either clenched into a fist as he spoke or with the index finger stabbing or waggling to make his points with authority."

Judy points out that Harry made only one personal reference in his speech. When welcoming the three new teams to the Invictus Games, Colombia, Israel and Nigeria, he made a cheeky joke that things would be ‘a little more competitive’ this year as Meghan Markle has 'discovered she’s of Nigerian descent’ and the couple will be supporting different teams throughout the games. 

Judi said, "What he only really did once was smile. The big grin came when he called out the new nations and each group stood up to celebrate. One was Nigeria and this is where Harry’s one personal touch came as he told the audience things would get ‘a little more competitive’ at home this year now ‘My wife’s discovered she’s of Nigerian descent’."

Prince Harry

(Image credit: oris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Judi further added, "Apart from this one personal reference, Harry made the athletes the focus of his speech, suggesting he has lowered the ego by dropping all the usual, signature references about himself.

"He ended with a revving of the audience, shouting ‘Are you ready?’ twice before a loud ‘Let’s do this!’ but again it was followed by no milking of the applause, he just strode off with a thumbs up gesture, sucking his lips in and looking serious."

The speech showed a complete 180 in Harry's body language when compared with his public appearance at the WellChild Awards just two days before. Body language expert Darren Stanton, speaking on behalf of Betfair Casino, believes Harry looked ‘overwhelmed’ and 'nervous' as he showed up at the London Awards event. 

He shared, "Harry clearly feels slightly overwhelmed and nervous. His facial expression shows he obviously is feeling sad, but his face is also flushed, and that shows he is feeling nervous too. All the memories will be rushing back now that he is with his family again and back in the UK. 

"We rarely see Harry put his hands in his pockets in public engagements, but we did see that today. That is Harry's way of reassuring himself when he's not feeling his 100% self. He's normally very confident and will have his head held up high, putting on a brave face, but I can see he is putting his hands in his pockets as a distraction and trying to protect himself as he is feeling every emotion right now."

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.