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King Charles ‘shows he is still in charge’ after Prince William’s shock statement over Gaza conflict: Body language expert says the monarch ‘led’ in his first face-to-face meeting with Rishi Sunak since his cancer diagnosis


King Charles has shown he is ‘still very much in charge’, a body language expert has said, as the fallout from Prince William‘s shock statement on the war in Gaza continues.

The monarch, 75, met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak face-to-face at Buckingham Palace yesterday for the first time since his cancer diagnosis, and demonstrated how he was still ‘leading’, communication expert Judi James has said.

The meeting came 24 hours after his son ramped up his family’s response to the conflict in the Middle East by insisting Hamas must release hostages and that it was critical that aid get through to those sheltering in Gaza.

William, jointly with his wife Kate, argued the ‘sheer scale of human suffering’ had brought home the need for peace in an enclave ‘where too many have been killed’.

Royal experts said this week that the heir to the throne’s well-choreographed intervention was evidence of how he plans to be a hands-on King – but questions have remained over whether Charles knew about the statement before it was released.

It came ahead of the House of Commons debate over the war last night, which resulted in MPs passing Labour‘s amendment calling for an ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire‘.  

King Charles has shown he is 'still very much in charge', body language expert Judi James said after his meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday (pictured)

King Charles has shown he is ‘still very much in charge’, body language expert Judi James said after his meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday (pictured)

The meeting came 24 hours after Prime William (pictured Tuesday at the British Red Cross) ramped up his family's response to the war by issuing a statement of 'distress' stating Hamas must release hostages and that it is critical that aid get through to those sheltering in Gaza

The meeting came 24 hours after Prime William (pictured Tuesday at the British Red Cross) ramped up his family’s response to the war by issuing a statement of ‘distress’ stating Hamas must release hostages and that it is critical that aid get through to those sheltering in Gaza

Wednesday’s audience with the Prime Minister marked the first time Charles has been filmed carrying out official duties since late last year. 

The King has stepped away from public engagements to focus on his cancer treatment, but has said he intends to continue to perform his state duties. 

His body language during the meeting ‘threw up some strong signals’ that the King ‘intends to keep working for as long as possible’, Ms James told MailOnline last night.

Wearing a navy blue suit and tie, Charles joked with Mr Sunak before their formal meeting at Buckingham Palace. The Prime Minister told the King that it was ‘very nice to see you’, to which Charles responded: ‘A bit of a gap I’m afraid,’ referring to the disruption to their weekly meetings.

Mr Sunak reassured him that ‘we’re all behind you, the country is behind you’, and added that it was ‘wonderful to see you looking so well.’ In typical good humour, the King jokingly replied: ‘Well, it’s all done by mirrors, really.’ 

Analysing the interaction, Ms James said: ‘His chuckling smile was an immediate response to his words about his face-to-face with his PM being delayed,’ Ms James said. 

‘His handshake looked firm and the way that Sunak responded with a prolonged shake for the cameras suggested he felt no sign of a weakened response from the King.’

Charles, 75, met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Buckingham Palace yesterday as he made his first public remarks since his cancer diagnosis and showed he was 'leading', Ms James said

Charles, 75, met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Buckingham Palace yesterday as he made his first public remarks since his cancer diagnosis and showed he was ‘leading’, Ms James said

Charles beamed as he shook hands with Mr Sunak during the in-person audience. Ms James said his 'chuckling smile was an immediate response to his words about his face-to-face with his PM being delayed' and that his handshake looked 'firm'

Charles beamed as he shook hands with Mr Sunak during the in-person audience. Ms James said his ‘chuckling smile was an immediate response to his words about his face-to-face with his PM being delayed’ and that his handshake looked ‘firm’ 

The monarch and Prime Minister shared a joke or two during the meeting. Ms James explained that despite 'some signs of tiredness and frailty', the clues to Charles' ill-health were 'subtle'

The monarch and Prime Minister shared a joke or two during the meeting. Ms James explained that despite ‘some signs of tiredness and frailty’, the clues to Charles’ ill-health were ‘subtle’

Charles was seen leaving Sandringham shortly after 3pm yesterday on his return to London

Charles was seen leaving Sandringham shortly after 3pm yesterday on his return to London

The body language expert noted how Charles ‘led’ the meeting and was ‘motioning his PM to sit’. She said: ‘It was Charles performing all the active hand gestures during their chat, leading the discussion rather than just listening politely to the PM’s good wishes.

‘Even when Charles sat he placed his hands on his knees with no sign of needing to hold the arm of the chair as he lowered himself down and when he was sitting he adopted a very upright, regal pose.’

Ms James explained that despite ‘some signs of tiredness and frailty’, the clues to Charles’ ill-health were ‘subtle’.

She said: ‘The way he pushed one hand into his jacket pocket after the handshake looked like a self-comfort ritual. His eyes looked tired and there were shadows beneath his eyes, and his face looked slimmer, with his chuckling smile revealing his cheeks were less plumped and rounded than usual.’ 

Before the pair’s private discussion, the 75-year-old monarch also met with members of the Privy Council in person on Tuesday evening. 

Charles normally curtails his public schedule for several weeks around the Christmas and New Year holidays, which was followed by the announcement of the king’s diagnosis earlier this month.

Buckingham Palace announced that the king would be treated for cancer less than three weeks after he was treated for an enlarged prostate. While palace officials didn’t disclose the type of cancer, they said it wasn’t prostate cancer.

Prince William called on Tuesday for an end to the fighting in Gaza, saying the 'sheer scale of human suffering' had brought home the need for peace in an enclave 'where too many have been killed'. William is pictured during his visit to the British Red Cross on Tuesday

Prince William called on Tuesday for an end to the fighting in Gaza, saying the ‘sheer scale of human suffering’ had brought home the need for peace in an enclave ‘where too many have been killed’. William is pictured during his visit to the British Red Cross on Tuesday

William, while at the Red Cross, listened to Pascal Hundt, Senior Crisis Manager, International Committee of the Red Cross, dialling in on a video call from Gaza

William, while at the Red Cross, listened to Pascal Hundt, Senior Crisis Manager, International Committee of the Red Cross, dialling in on a video call from Gaza

Prince William on Tuesday was guided by British Red Cross chair Liz Padmore, centre, and BRC chief executive Beatrice Butsana-Sita, right

Prince William on Tuesday was guided by British Red Cross chair Liz Padmore, centre, and BRC chief executive Beatrice Butsana-Sita, right

The meeting came one day after William, in an unusually direct intervention for a member of the royal family, vocalised that ‘I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible’.

‘I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack on 7 October. Too many have been killed,’ he said in a statement.

‘Sometimes it is only when faced with the sheer scale of human suffering that the importance of permanent peace is brought home.

‘There is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. It´s critical that aid gets in and the hostages are released.’

In 2018, William became the first senior British royal to make an official visit to Israel and occupied Palestinian territory, and since then, he has followed the region closely, his office said.

In response to the Prince’s remarks, Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said: ‘Israelis of course want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible, and that will be possible once the 134 hostages are released, and once the Hamas terror army threatening to repeat the October 7 atrocities is dismantled.’

William’s statement was issued with the knowledge of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and welcomed by Downing Street, which said his ‘measured’ call for an end to the fighting was in line with the Government’s position. 

Royal aides emphasised that it was the ‘extent of the human suffering that is on display which had led him to make the statement he has today’.

Prince William has today issued the royals' strongest statement yet on the Gaza conflict

Prince William has today issued the royals’ strongest statement yet on the Gaza conflict

British Red Cross officials Clare Clement, director of international law and policy, and head of region MENA and Europe Rory Moylan talk to BRC chairwoman Liz Padmore and William

British Red Cross officials Clare Clement, director of international law and policy, and head of region MENA and Europe Rory Moylan talk to BRC chairwoman Liz Padmore and William

Prince William met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during his visit to the country in 2018

Prince William met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during his visit to the country in 2018

They would not confirm whether it had the backing of the King. But father and son did meet in Norfolk at the weekend, where Charles is recuperating from cancer treatment.

Conservative MPs were wary of publicly criticising William but some questioned the royal’s ‘highly political’ message, calling his intervention ‘unwise’.

With Charles currently absent from official public duties as he undergoes treatment for cancer, William has been expected to take on more high-profile engagements.

In general, the royals avoid making statements on political issues, but before his father became king, he spoke out on matters close to his heart.

Charles has called the Hamas attacks in southern Israel ‘barbaric acts of terrorism‘, and also appealed for greater religious tolerance at a time of ‘international turmoil’.

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams previously told MailOnline that Tuesday’s intervention was evidence that William was following elements of his father Charles’ ‘outspoken’ approach to issues of the day.

He said: ‘The language William used in this statement was very stark. William has not been outspoken in the same way as Charles and tends to behave more like the Queen by being very circumspect.

‘But he can be outspoken in very specific circumstances when he knows his words will carry weight. So while their style is very different, there something in his father in the way he made this statement. Over time we will judge how his style develops.’



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