Buckingham Palace released a new photograph of King Charles, with family by his side, taken just 10 days after the Queen’s death.
Speculation about Prince William and Kate Middleton’s relationship emerged on social media afterwards, questioning why he had not embraced his wife of more than 11 years.
But author Judi James told Metro.co.uk: ‘His splayed legs and the way his hands are clasped in front of his torso form a pose of attentive waiting.
‘It’s the kind of pose you see from staff in hotel lobbies and it could signal his role of support and stand-in for his dad.
‘It looks dutiful and Catherine’s arm round his back suggests she is, in turn, there to support him.’
Meanwhile, the new monarch looks cosy next to his wife, with his right arm gently tucked around her waist.
Ms James stressed this was an ‘unusual public display of affection’ for the King.
Earlier this year, there were rumours that Prince Harry’s upcoming memoir will contain new revelations about his relationship with his stepmother.
The expert highlighted that Charles’ gesture in the photo might be ‘a sign of both solidarity and affection’ as a result.
‘A pose like this will suggest mutual support and resilience,’ she added.
Royal fans were also quick to point out that both Harry and Meghan were not part of the portrait even though they were in the country at the time it was taken.
But others said the California-based couple have no right to be included as they stepped down from their roles as senior royals in 2020.
With a line-up of four, rather than just Charles and Camilla, the nation is shown that the crown is ‘in safe hands for a least one more generation’, according to Ms James.
She added: ‘This portrait looks emphatic in terms of its messages of continuity and unity.
‘There is finally a sense of peace after all the rifts and soap-opera dramas of the past few decades.’