Kate Middleton, 40, often tucks her hair behind her ears before she shakes people’s hands on royal engagements. One example of when she did this was on November 3 when she arrived in Scarborough with Prince William to visit The Street community hub. An expert claimed she may be “loving the attention and being in the spotlight”.
Judi James, a body language expert, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk to analyse why the Princess of Wales does this nervous gesture.
She said: “It’s unusual for a top-tier royal female to wear their hair long and loose as Kate does. Princess Anne pinned her hair up in her signature, severe French pleat decades ago and this wind, rain and all-elements-defying style has been her look since she married the first time around.
“It’s the custom for royal women to choose a hairstyle that is practical rather than flattering and which responds well to headscarves and tiaras alike.
“It’s a look that is also prompted by previous royal women’s love of riding, shoots and country walks.”
However, Judi argues that the Princess of Wales is not like these royal women because she is “not a headscarf kind of girl”.
She explained: “But Kate is not a headscarf kind of a girl and she broke the mould when it came to the hunting, shooting, fishing look.
“She has very proudly retained her beautiful but potentially impractical long hair, usually wearing it loose and waved.
“She has no fringe and what this means is that it will require frequent touches and tucks to keep it from falling over her face.”
According to Judi, Meghan Markle does not have this problem for a key reason, and it’s to do with her hairstyle.
She claimed: “While Meghan’s central parting means she only needs to keep her head up to keep it from flopping, Kate’s asymmetric styles often mean one side will need tucking behind an ear.”
Judi suggests that there are “other emotional reasons” for the Princess of Wales’ “hair touches”.
She added: “But there are other, emotional reasons for these hair touches and Kate’s body language as she pats, preens, tucks or flicks her hair all reveal different ‘states’.
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“Some look like a self-comfort ritual, implying inner anxieties, others look like small status signals, and some hint at something a lot more flirty and confident.
“When Kate tucks her hair back before or just after shaking hands with people this looks like a practical gesture.
“As a tall woman, she will often have to bend her head to greet them and her hair might have started to tumble over her face.
“She is also aware that the cameras will need to get a good shot of her in profile as she greets people on royal visits and this could be a reflex action to ensure her face is clearly visible.”
According to the body language expert, the Princess could potentially perform this gesture as a “self-comfort anxiety ritual”.
She explained: “Kate will also touch her hair when she’s not bending or needing to tuck it though and this looks like more of a self-comfort anxiety ritual. Interestingly the hand that raises to touch the hair will often also look as though it’s performing a display ritual and this could have something to do with marrying into the Royal Family as a non-royal.
“Kate’s gesture will make a feature of her wedding ring and Diana’s (and now Kate’s) engagement ring and this might feel reassuring, like a subtle and validating display of some powerful status symbols. This hair touch gesture could suggest moments when Kate is feeling a little vulnerable.
“There is another hair preen or hair-tossing gesture that suggests moments of high confidence, though. When Kate pushes her hand through the back of her hair to toss it about she is performing a happy and slightly flirty-looking gesture that suggests she is loving the attention and being in the spotlight.”