Prince Charles has returned to Wales numerous times since his investiture in 1969. He has previously spoken about his love for the nation and even spent a few months living in its Welsh-speaking heartlands, learning the language and getting to know its people and its culture. But what did Charles’ latest visit reveal about his role as Prince of Wales?
Body language expert Judi James gave her professional insight on the way the prince acted during the visit.
She said: “As Prince of Wales, Charles clearly will feel some sense of bonding as he visits here and it is clear from his body language that there were several issues or meetings that were close to his heart.”
Judi referred to Charles’ conversation with a member of St Brynach Church who showed him the place of worship’s “bleeding” yew trees – 700 year old trees with red-coloured sap.
Judi said: “His intense listening signals as he examined an ancient tree and churchyard, including brows puckered in concentration and the way he appeared to be leading the conversation at the ‘bleeding’ yew, leaning up and pointing as though keen to discover more facts, all show him looking genuinely fascinated and engaged.”
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Both Camilla and Charles visited the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where Judi said Camilla took on a “more passive role”.
“She is working with her husband to provide a very complimentary double act where he is the one in the spotlight while she offers quiet support and approval signals.
“But we can see her engaging a little more deeply and even reaching out to touch a costume at one point.”
Judi added: “Her very kindly-looking smile, with eye-crinkling and a slightly pulling down of the corners of the mouth, does provide a very attractive alternative to Charles’s sometimes intense-looking body language rituals.”
“He looks keen to create rapport in the same way that his father did, although an important part of Prince Philip’s body language was the twinkle in his eye as he challenged or questioned people, and that is a trait that Princess Anne inherited rather than her older brother.”
Judi looked more generally at the way Charles behaved during his latest Welsh visit, claiming that the prince took on a more personable persona, rather than a regal one, when in the country.
She said: “Charles has often shown a rather sombre approach to his role as future king as though it weighs very heavily on his shoulders.
“With the Queen now appearing to have gone through some kind of a renaissance recently, storming through her workload with an energy and a smile that belies her years, Charles seems to be adopting a more relaxed approach to his current role.
“This suggests that he still seems to see his role as king as being a long way off yet.”
Judi continued: “Charles has been looking more relaxed and more open to having fun on his visits than ever before.
“And this suggests he is still relishing his slightly less responsible role in the firm for as long as possible.
“There appears to be no air of impending doom settling over his body language, but instead we can see him using nudge gestures here in what appears to be an attempt to share jokes with the people he is visiting.
“There are no photos here suggesting a triumphant return to the land where he is Prince, either.
“The groups he is shown speaking to are small and when he waves at the crowd there only appears to be one person waving back.
“There appears to be an attempt to use images that present this visit as low-key and intimate rather than regal.”