Harry and the first lady posed for a series of photos together before sitting down for a chat. Trump stood with her arms at her sides, while Harry’s hand was half-tucked into his jacket in a very unusual way: His ring and middle fingers were tucked inside his coat along with his thumb, while he held his pinky and pointer fingers outside.
His unusual gesture ― and whether or not it was intentional ― became a hot topic over the weekend, even eclipsing Harry’s first official appearance with his American girlfriend Meghan Markle. People on Twitter and some media outlets noted it looks like Harry was giving a symbol of the devil, either signaling that he himself is the devil or that the spirit of the devil surrounded him.
But two body language experts think the gesture was misread in two very different ways. Patti Wood, body language expert and author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language & Charisma,told HuffPost that while Harry has held his jacket in photos before, this specific hand position is new.
“This is called the horn or the devil’s horn, and what people are saying in the media about it is not correct,” she said. “It is not a sign that he’s the devil, but rather a warning off of evil spirits. It’s a protective gesture against evil or darkness and illness.”
Huh. Wood said putting one’s hand on one’s stomach is an act of self-comfort, and she has previously noticed other world leaders exhibiting self-comfort in photo ops with President Donald Trump.
“I’ve seen world leaders in photo shoots with Trump and I see a lot of what are called self-comfort cues,” she said. “This would be considered one of those. It looks like the devil’s horn but it is also hand to belly,” she said. “At the very least it would be a comfort cue, and show a lot of tension and a need to protect his central core.”
Joe Navarro, body language expert and author of What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People, is skeptical of reading any intention in Harry’s body language. He pointed out to HuffPost that a photo is a moment in time, and a number of factors could have led to this particular positioning.
“Had the photographers loitered too long? Is there something else going on?” he…