A body language expert analysed the relationship between future royal sisters-in-law Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton — here’s her verdict

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  • Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton made their working debut together alongside other halves Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge on Wednesday.
  • A body language expert has offered her analysis of the relationship between the future royal sister-in-laws.
  • She says there was ‘team member’ respect for one another but no ‘overt displays of sisterly friendship.’
  • There’s still presumably time for that to blossom.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, and Price William appeared for their first official royal engagement as a foursome on Wednesday – and observers couldn’t help but use the opportunity to analyse the relationship between the “Suits” actress and her future sister-in-law.

The pair wore coordinating blue dresses to the first annual Royal Foundation Forum in London, although Markle’s apparently cost more than 10 times more than the Middleton’s.

The Duchess wore the Royal Blue Tailored Maternity Dress by Seraphine, which retails for $169, while Markle opted for a dark blue wrap dress by Jason Wu, which retails for $1,795.

But that wasn’t where the differences ended, according to author and body language expert Judi James, who has offered her take on the event to various media outlets.

The last time the two couples were photographed together was on Christmas Day at Sandringham.

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Wednesday was their first official engagement as a foursome. They faced questions about their past and future charity work and the foundation’s programmes from host Tina Daheley.

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James told Cosmopolitan that overall the plentiful smiles made for some “strong family vibes.”

“There seemed to be a ‘team member’ respect for one another but they also seemed to steer clear of any more overt displays of sisterly friendship,” she told the magazine.

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James also pointed out that whenever Middleton spoke, Markle would make a concerted effort to turn to listen to her “intently,” as per below.

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But most people who watched the interview noticed a difference in the way the two handled questions, which is hardly surprising given their very different backgrounds. Markle is, after all, used to being on screen in a very different way.

“Meghan’s approach is hugely ‘hit-the-ground-running’ with her upright posture and her trait of sitting with one elbow in partial splay mode suggesting high levels of confidence and a desire to get her message across,” James said.

Meanwhile, Middleton seemed a little more laid back, which again is hardly surprising as she’s far more well-versed in royal protocol.

“Kate’s calmer, simpler approach, sitting back in her chair with a rather demure hand clasp gave a glimpse of what being a royal must have taught her, which is that people listen anyway with no need to ramp up the passion and drama.”

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Markle indicated that her focus in the foundation could be on women’s’ rights, and she was candid in speaking about these issues, even discussing the #MeToo movement.

“I hear a lot of people speaking about girls’ empowerment and women’s empowerment – you will hear people saying they are helping women find their voices,” she said. “I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find their voices, they need to be empowered to use it, and people need to be urged to listen.

She added: “I think right now in the climate where we are seeing so many campaigns like Me Too and Time’s Up, there is no better time than to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them.”

Markle appeared a lot more emotionally reactive when it came to some of the more personal questions posed by Daheley, too – including whether or not the family ever disagree with one another.

“When Harry joked we saw both women share genuine matching smiles and mirror the partial cut-off gesture when their hands mimicked face-covering,” James said. “The cause was clearly also important to both although there was some interesting body language thrown up when suggestions of ‘disagreements’ were thrown up.

“Both women initially hid their faces behind their hair and then Meghan laughed and grabbed Harry’s arm in a rather telling gesture. William’s ‘Oh yes’ told us sparks had clearly occurred, but Kate’s demure smile wasn’t giving any clues about who had been battling with who.”

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Markle’s spirited and candid approach to the interview has even led to comparisons between her and Princess Diana, William and Harry’s late mother.

But it’s still early days – we’ll have to wait to see how Markle finds her place in the royal family following her May wedding to Harry, after which she’ll formally become the fourth patron of the foundation.