Times Lip Readers Revealed Huge Royal Secrets

The British royal family — and, let's be honest here, every royal family — is surrounded by so much wealth, luxury, and fancy hats that it's easy to forget that underneath all those trappings are perfectly ordinary human beings that put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of the world. Well, they might have people to help them with things like pants, but the principle is sound.

The royal family has been put on a pedestal for years, and it's entirely possible to believe that all those generations of breeding, training, and etiquette lessons have made them pretty foolproof when it comes to things like keeping private thoughts and matters to themselves. Fortunately for the rest of us, that's not always the case.

To say the royals are under a microscope is a serious understatement, and here's the thing: When royals are talking, the cameras are rolling, and the lip readers? They're ready and waiting to catch some juicy gossip or big secret. Have they caught whispered words that various family members would probably have preferred to keep secret? Absolutely!

The one thing the Queen would have changed about William and Kate's wedding

There's something that people just can't resist about a royal wedding. Is it the fairy tale vibes? The knowledge that "happily-ever-after" isn't always the case? Whatever it is, royal weddings mean a record number of viewers, and according to Fortune, about 23 million Americans tuned in to see Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot in 2011.

Among those watching was Tina Lannin. Deaf from birth, Lannin has spent her entire life relying on her ability to read lips, and she has since worked as a forensic lip reader (which means she worked with law enforcement on things like lip reading surveillance videos), and founded her own speech-to-text business (via Grow Fox). So, although CBS News says that her interpretation of what was secretly said at the wedding wasn't independently verifiable, she knows her stuff.

Most of Lannin's transcript of the wedding is typical stuff. The interesting bit isn't actually between William and Kate at all, it happened after they hopped on their fairy-tale-style carriage and rode off into the distance. That's when Lannin says that Queen Elizabeth told her daughter-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, what she would have changed: "I wanted them to take the smaller carriage." Camilla was quick to point out that everything went very well, and Lannin says that the Queen agreed. At the end of the day, not picking the same carriage isn't the biggest crisis that could have happened.

Harry's eye-rolling comment about William and Kate

It's no secret that Prince Harry's marriage to U.S. actress Meghan Markle has put a bit of a damper on his relationship with his brother, William, and William's family. According to Cosmopolitan, the drama has been going on for a long time: They trace the rift back to just before Christmas of 2018, and Harry's accusations that his new wife wasn't being welcomed into the royal family with open enough arms.

A lot of the info about just how deep the rift between the brothers is has come second-hand... or, at least, not from the palace. Fast forward a bit to 2020, and what would be Meghan's last official royal engagement. That was the Commonwealth Day Service, which took place at Westminster Abbey, and saw Harry and Meghan sitting behind William and Kate. William and Kate sat down, said hello to Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie — often said to be the Queen's favorites — then said hello to Harry and Meghan, and went about their business.

That's when professional lip reader Jeremy Freeman says (via the Daily Star) he caught Harry's snarky remark: "At least they acknowledged, unlike last time." Was that seemingly clear admission of not just a rift but a chasm between the royal brothers ever supposed to be made public? Probably not — and it's been interpreted as suggesting that the relationship between Diana's sons has been deeply damaged.

What are you holding back, William?

Jeremy Freeman is one of a handful of professional lip readers working in the U.K. According to his official site, he has a certification from University College London's Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, and has worked with legal teams and law enforcement to interpret what's being said in things like CCTV and surveillance footage. He's often hired by various media outlets to watch and interpret things that celebrities and the royal family say that aren't caught in any other way, and in 2021, he told the Daily Star what it was that Prince William said to his wife Kate Middleton after talking to his brother at Harry and Meghan's last public appearance as royals, and the Commonwealth Day ceremonies.

Freeman notes that it's unclear just who he was talking about, but the going theory is that he was referring to his relationship with his brother when he said, "It's quite good to connect instead of holding things back like always." Kate responded but was facing away from the lip reader. Freeman did see William's reply: "I know it's bad. I ought to have words with him. He'll shout and God knows what, but things'll change, won't it?"

There has been plenty of speculation over the conflict between the brothers and much less official information, which makes this comment from William seeming to regret the rift between brothers an interesting look behind the stiff-upper-lip traditionally put forward by the royals.

Charles' discomfort stepping in for his mother

Queen Elizabeth has traditionally given a speech at the State Opening of Parliament ... until, that is, 2022. According to the BBC, it was announced just days before the ceremonial opening that the queen would miss the event for the first time in 59 years. An official statement from Buckingham Palace cited "episodic mobility problems," and she handed official duties off to her son, Prince Charles, and grandson, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.

The 96-year-old queen's chair was not to be used, and it had to be a difficult place to step into — especially in light of Charles's recent loss of his father. Professional lip reader Jeremy Freeman told the Mirror that some of the things he caught the prince saying suggested that yes, it was just as difficult as one might expect.

As they got out of their vehicle at Westminster Abbey's Sovereign's entrance, Charles was seen to tell his wife, Camilla, "Oh, my word, that was uncomfortable." Then, as Charles spoke with the officers lined up outside of the throne room, one was seen asking if the prince was well. His response was telling: "Well, yes, I'm trying."

Zara Tindall's comparison between royal weddings

Princes William and Harry aren't the queen's only grandchildren: They have a handful of cousins roughly the same age, and they're as close as perfectly ordinary cousins who are born within a few years of each other. That means there's often a lot of kidding around when they get together, and according to what one lip reader told the Mirror, it was at the wedding of Princess Eugenie (pictured) that another royal — Zara Tindall, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth's daughter, Princess Anne — made a comment that might have added fuel to the fires burning since Harry and Meghan's wedding.

Tindall, says the report, leaned over to Harry at one point and quipped, "It's very quiet compared to the screaming at your wedding."

Oh, the potential drama! Did she mean public screaming, and was it a cheeky reference to the fact that Eugenie had more guests than her cousin had wrangled? Or, was it a reference to whatever had been going on behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace, and within the confines of family conversation?

Were Harry and Meghan really escorted out of Charles's party?

Claims published in a book by Lady Colin Campbell were pretty juicy: According to the Daily Mail, she wrote that newlyweds Harry and Meghan were attending a garden party thrown in honor of Charles's 70th birthday. They left pretty early, leading to claims that Meghan had said she was bored and didn't want to stay any longer.

There was, of course, footage of the party, which was quickly analyzed for any signs of conflict. Lip readers reported that there was actually none of that, and Charles had said, "We are going now, we have to leave." Harry responded with "You go ahead," and then added, "Yes, catch up ... after."

Interpretations suggest that it seemed as though Charles was politely excusing them and that there was no angst or conflict present there ... although others noted that he didn't look happy about the whole thing. Lady Campbell, however, suggests that this was one of the moments that changed the dynamic within the royal family in regards to Harry and Meghan.

Was Meghan really chastising Harry?

The British royals haven't had the kind of drama that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle brought in a long time, and it's no secret that their marriage has caused some seriously broken relationships. That's gone back years, says Cosmopolitan, and things have only escalated from cold shoulders to admitted rifts all the way to Harry and Meghan backing out of the royal family and heading off to America.

Harry and Meghan have always relied on their united front, but lip readers spotted something interesting at the wedding of Harry's cousin, Princess Eugenie. According to what body language expert Judi James told the Daily Mail, Harry showed all the signs of being an impatient "child that has just been told to sit still," while Meghan chatted away with nearby guests... save for one exchange.

Lip readers claim that Harry had leaned over to comment "Everything's different," and Meghan's response seemed to James curt and pretty annoyed. She responded with, "Yes, of course, that's the way," adding a gesture, and an eye roll before turning away to continue a conversation with someone else. Her "polite social smile" reappeared, James said, while Harry continued to look uncomfortable. Were cracks showing?

Harry and WIlliam's unveiling of their mother's statue

Princess Diana would have turned 60 in 2021, and to mark the occasion, Princes William and Harry commissioned sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley to create a memorial statue of her that was unveiled in a ceremony at Kensington Palace's Sunken Garden. (Interestingly, Tatler says the clothes she's wearing are a call-back to her post-separation Christmas card, which featured her and her two sons — without Prince Charles.)

William and Harry were (respectively) 15 and 12 years old when Diana was killed in 1997, and it wasn't until decades later that they began to talk about the grief, with William saying (via Town & Country): "There's nothing like it in the world. There really isn't. It's like an earthquake has just run through ... everything."

The brothers shared a grief that only they understood, and by the time they unveiled the statue, the feud between the two was already firmly underway — and that's why a quiet exchange caught by lip reader Jeremy Freeman (via the Daily Star) is so telling. After the brothers were told how to pull the cloth off the statue, Harry looked at William and said, "We will be okay." William responded: "I didn't want anything to go wrong. It's important we unveil it right." The Daily Star further reported that body language expert Judi James suggested the way the estranged brothers acted toward each other suggested that there were still signs of the brotherly love they had long shared.

How is the relationship between William and Camilla now?

To say the saga of Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Camilla Parker Bowles was scandalous would be putting it very lightly. According to Town & Country, Charles and Camilla met in 1970, and fell wildly in love before going their separate ways to marry other people. Sort of — it wasn't long before Charles and Camilla hooked up again, and a few years later, Diana confronted her. She was reportedly devastated by the affair: She and Charles divorced in 1996. By 1998 — the year after Diana's death — Charles was introducing Camilla to his children and his mother, and it was slow going.

What does Prince William think of her decades later? In 2022, lip reader Jacqui Press was watching as the royals met outside of Westminster Abbey for Commonwealth Day. Press said (via the Daily Mail) that William and Camilla looked honestly happy to talk, with Camilla using words like "lovely," "thank you," and "oh, wow!" Meanwhile, more telling was a conversation between Kate and Charles, where Charles volunteered: "We could come and see you that Saturday, we are not around that evening."

It was a huge deal: It was Camilla's first appearance since getting approval from Queen Elizabeth to use the title of "Queen" when Charles becomes king. If there's anything that might make an interaction between Charles's long-time love and the son of his ex-wife awkward, it's that — but Press and inside sources say past conflicts remain in the past.

How does the Queen really feel about meeting her fellow world leaders?

Every year, the leaders of the nations of the EU meet with those from other, outside nations like the U.K., the U.S., and Canada, coming together at the G7 to discuss global issues like climate change, free trade policies, and global health initiatives. There are a ton of influential people there, so what does Queen Elizabeth think of meeting them all?

It turns out that it's not as effortless for her as it might seem. She's been doing this for a long time, but in 2021, a lip reader caught a conversation between her and Boris Johnson that suggested it's anything but second nature. Johnson asked her simply, "How are you?" and the Queen had a surprising reply: "It's very awkward, isn't it?" Johnson's reply, says Wales Online, isn't completely clear, but he seems to have said, "Yes, I should know." The Queen apparently answered with, "It is at the moment. Yes, it's very difficult," before they continued on to the reception.

Just what part of world events, personalities, or even personal drama made the meeting so particularly awkward this year can only be imagined, but clearly, these high-profile events don't always go as smoothly as even lifelong public figures would like.

Harry and William's words at Philip's funeral

On April 9, 2021, the BBC reported that Buckingham Palace had officially announced the death of 99-year-old Prince Philip. It's no secret that he was an incredibly controversial figure — with the Independent publishing a list of 90 comments that offended everyone from Canada to Scotland to Kenya, along with survivors of some of recent history's most catastrophic events. 

Still, to the royal family, he was a husband, father, and grandfather: According to the Express, his funeral marked the occasion that brought estranged brothers William and Harry together for the first time in over a year. How did it go? Those who saw them talk were hopeful it was the start of a reconciliation, and according to lip readers, the conversation seemed at least cordial. William started with, "Yes, it was great, wasn't it?" Harry responded, "It was as he wanted." They talked about the music, too, with William commenting, "Absolutely beautiful service, ah, the music."

Royal experts suggest it was the ideal time for the brothers to make amends, not just because they had both lost their grandfather, but because of the history they shared with him and another funeral. It was Philip who reportedly encouraged the brothers to walk in their mother's funeral procession, telling them that although it was hard, they would regret it if they didn't. He then kept his promise to walk with them.

The nickname that revealed a closeness between Charles and Kate

Diana was widely known as "the people's princess," a title that paid homage to her kindness and accessibility, and one that CNN says was cemented by U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech addressing her untimely death in 1997. It's not entirely surprising, then, that her oldest son is following in her footsteps.

In 2022, Cosmopolitan reported that William and Kate, formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were eliminating not just formal titles, but also some of the rules and regulations about how they are greeted and approached, all with the goal of getting rid of the stuffy formality more popularly associated with the monarchy. But what goes on behind closed doors?

In 2021, a lip reader told Cornwall Live that during the intro to the G7 Summit, it was Kate Middleton who was seen greeting her father-in-law, Prince Charles, with an affectionate, "Hello, Grandpa! How are you?" Charles is absolutely the grandfather of Kate's three children, but the fact that she still calls him "Grandpa" when there are no children in sight, well, that sort of says it all about their behind-the-scenes relationship, doesn't it?