Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh holds a significant role in the Royal Family alongside Prince Edward, but their children enjoy more freedom as non-working relatives.
James, Earl of Wessex holds an even more lowkey position compared to his older sister Lady Louise, but as he gets older, his responsibilities will increase.
And according to body language expert Judi James, the young Earl’s relationship with his mother, Sophie is changing to reflect his journey into adulthood.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Judi analysed the parenting dynamics between the two and pointed out the Duchess’s “willpower” to “step back” from being hands-on.
She said: “Royal mothers seem to set a strong example of a classic style of nurturing, where the job seems to be to grow healthy, energetic children who are then nudged towards their independence as quickly as possible, especially the boys, almost as an act of survival.”
This is clear in the dynamics between Sophie and James, but also with other royals like Princess Kate and her son Prince George.
Judi claimed: “The moment George started wearing suits like his father’s the hand-holding, cuddling and other personal displays of affection (PDA), tended to decline gently from both William and Kate, with George then appearing to mimic his father’s body language as closely as possible.
“The small tie-signs of love and encouragement are still offered or used but less so, and both Sophie and Kate seem to be using what must be a lot of willpower to step back and not allow any natural anxiety or desire to protect to inhibit their sons’ independence and confidence.”
The body language expert continued: “Royal life can be tough and expectations high in terms of adult-like behaviours, and even the very tactile Sophie seems to have stepped away from her much-loved son James in terms of PDAs to allow him to appear as an adult as possible once he reached his teens.
“Not many children will have had to stand public guard at their grandmother’s coffin under the scrutiny of the world’s eyes as James did, and his public life as a member of the royal family will require ongoing confidence and resilience.”
Despite being 15th in line to the throne and a non-working royal, James and his sister Louise have stepped into the limelight even more so since their parents became Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. And while he is only called upon for special occasions, the teenage Earl could become more senior in the future.
The distance in Sophie and James’s relationship is considered beneficial for the young royal, but the wider family dynamic between the Wessexes is also significant, according to Judi.
She explained: “Like George, James seems to have fallen in step with his father now and he tends to mirror Edward at royal events, while Sophie’s body language seems much more synchronised with her daughter’s.
“Previously we have seen Sophie looking supportive, tactile and loving with her pre-teen son, comforting him in public or even rubbing noses playfully, but now he is older it seems to be time to drop many of the signals of maternal encouragement and support and to allow him to appear as a young man in his own right.
“This seems to have worked well with his shyness signals and Sophie’s lack of constant, loving scrutiny and support signals seems to have brought out James’s more confident side.
“Like George, he now seems to be paired in a double act with his father, while Sophie will tend to pair off with her daughter.”