Saturday, 23 Sep 2023

Prince Harry ‘anxious and tense’ during UN speech as fears grow for Duke of Sussex

Prince Harry finds public speaking 'very difficult' says expert

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The Duke of Sussex gave a speech at the United Nations on Monday about seeking insight from the late Nelson Mandela. In his Mandela Day speech, Prince Harry urged countries to take action on climate change and spoke of his fondness for Africa, saying it is where he felt “closest” to his mother Diana and “sought solace after she died”.

But body language expert Judi James has picked apart his delivery, saying it was clear he struggled with some tough emotions.

Speaking to the Mirror, Judi said: “His style of delivery was more presidential than princely at the UN. His keynote was delivered in a sombre, slow, authoritative style that pitched him as the expert.

“He didn’t back away from taking a ‘tell’ approach, even when it came to Mandela himself.

“[But] Harry’s underlying body language rituals suggested high levels of tension and anxiety underlying the confident and hard-hitting delivery.”

She also pointed out the similarity between Harry and Prince Charles’s technique during speeches, which she calls “barrier rituals”.

Judi said this was something the Duke used during his speech on Monday, which received criticism from some online as his and wife Meghan Markle’s appearance was questioned by protestors.

Judi added: “He arrived in the building performing a lengthy self-comfort/barrier ritual that involved a truncated gesture of appearing to button his jacket and he was still performing that truncated ritual once he stepped on stage and walked to the lectern.

“An unfulfilled gesture like this is all about the feelings of self-comfort rather than the action itself. Prince Charles pats his pockets and fiddles with his cuffs while Harry pretended to button his jacket, fiddle with his tie and pat his stomach.

“This allows both to raise their hands and arms in front of their torsos in a protective barrier, suggesting some nerves.”

In the speech, Prince Harry warned members of the impact climate change could have on Africa and the rest of the world.

He said: “This crisis will only grow worse, unless our leaders lead, unless the countries represented by the seats in this hallowed hall make the decisions – the daring, transformative decisions – our world needs to save humanity.”

The Duke and Duchess attended the event together, walking into the UN headquarters in New York together.

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In the General Assembly Hall, Harry also spoke of the threats that the war in Ukraine presents to the world, the “reversal” of constitutional rights in the United States following the Roe v Wade decision, and the “weaponizing” of lies and disinformation.

He said: “We are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom – the cause of Mandela’s life”

The Duke was also mocked for “empty seats” during his speech after footage emerged showing the Assembly Hall.

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