Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are brand-new parents to their first baby, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
The Sussexes have never been afraid of doing things a little differently than other royal couples. They kept the birth private, and they elected not to immediately show their baby to the world, unlike Prince William and Kate Middleton.
When Archie finally made his debut, the Sussexes again strayed from royal tradition in one more important way: Harry was holding the baby instead of Meghan.
In the photos, Harry gingerly holds his young son. He stares lovingly into Archie’s eyes and seems perfectly comfortable in his new role as a dad.
According to body language expert Judi James, it’s quite telling that Harry held the baby for their first photos as a family.
“His baby cradling looked more adept and confident than other royal first-time dads,” Judi told the Daily Mail.
The fact that the couple kept making eye contact with each other bodes well for their co-parenting skills, too.
“It suggests very evenly shared parenting going forward,” Judi explained.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcomed their first child last week. They announced the news on Instagram, and a couple of days later shared the first glimpses of the baby with the press.
There are a few things of note in these photos. First: Archie is so cute! Second: Meghan is absolutely killing it for a woman who just gave birth two days before.
And third: Harry is holding the baby instead of Meghan, which somehow makes these photos all the more endearing. The prince held Archie for the entire photo-call.
That’s unusual for a royal baby photo op. In all three of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s post-birth photos, for example, Kate always held the newborn herself.
Body language expert Judi James explained the possible meaning behind Meghan and Harry’s decision to the Daily Mail.
“[Harry’s] baby cradling looked more adept and confident than other royal first-time dads,” Judi said.
“He had very little tension in his arms and his fingers don’t look rigid, although his self-calming technique of stroking his own hand as well as the baby, might have helped.”
“Harry took his duties seriously and the softening of his facial features as he looked at his new baby formed a very besotted looking ‘look of love,'” Judi added.
Judi also pointed out how Meghan periodically touched Archie’s head and played with her own hair.
“Meghan’s hair and face-touch rituals suggested some slight anxiety but overall it was her taking the protective leadership role,” Judi said.
“Meghan allowed Harry to be the hands-on-dad but this touching of the baby’s head looked like a continuation of all those touch and rub-based communications she performed constantly with her baby bump. It provides continuity for the mother and the baby,” she said.
Meghan’s gestures were also “protective” and “reassuring” for both her husband and her baby. This became even more pronounced when the couple walked away and she put her hand on his back.
“This ‘exit’ gesture was more exaggerated than Meghan has used before. It’s loving, unifying (as in bonding them visually as a team of three), but also rewarding to Harry and steering,” Judi said.
“‘Meghan combined it with a thumb rub for added definition and it reveals to Harry and the world her maternal protection for her two guys.”
Judi also noted how Meghan and Harry looked lovingly into each other’s eyes as well as the baby’s.
“Prince Harry and and Meghan still used some intense eye contact with one another,” she said.
“The intense eye contact exchanged between them created an inclusive effect, rather than both parents just doting on the baby,” Judi said. “‘It allowed for non-verbal signaling between them and allowed them to perform loving looks of mutual pride.”
That eye contact also suggests that Meghan and Harry will enjoy “evenly shared parenting” moving forward.
During that adorable photo op, Meghan opened up to the press about how things are going after the birth.
“It’s magic, it’s pretty amazing,” the Duchess of Sussex said. “I have the two best guys in the world, so I’m really happy.”
As for Archie, he seems to be a calm, easy baby so far.
“He has the sweetest temperament; he’s really calm,” Meghan revealed.
The couple added that Archie’s looks continue to change every day. We can’t wait for more family photos!