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Charles and Diana’s royal relationship, decoded by body language experts

What photos can tell us about the ups and downs of the royals' 15-year marriage.

On July 29, 1981, the world watched as the then Prince Charles (now King Charles III) and Lady Diana Spencer were married in a fairytale wedding cut straight from the storybooks.

It wasn't long, however, before cracks appeared in the royal union. 11 tumultuous years and two children later, the pair officially separated in 1992 and divorced in August of 1996, upon recommendation from the queen. Princess Diana died the following year in a tragic car accident.

Charles and Diana's relationship timeline, including the romance, nuptials and contentious marriage are chronicled in the Netflix series "The Crown," with Season Five of the Emmy-winning show set to premiere in November, with Elizabeth Debicki playing the late princess.

The latest installment is expected to cover 1992, the year Queen Elizabeth II once termed her "annus horribilis," which included a fire at Windsor Castle and the very public dissolution of the Charles and Diana's marriage.

Though some critics express concern over the series' blurring of historical fact and dramatization, especially given Queen Elizabeth II's death in September, the show covers many touchstone events in the couples' lives.

Among them, Charles and Diana's 1983 Australian tour, which was rumored to be fraught with tension, and Prince Charles long-time relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, whom he married in 2005.

Though no one will ever know the full story of what was happening behind the scenes (and many have tried), the body language of the Prince and Princess of Wales may offer clues to their complicated union.

TODAY had separate conversations with two body language experts to offer their perspectives on decoding the nonverbal cues in the following photographs of the royal couple throughout their relationship: Traci Brown, body language expert and author of the book "Persuasion Point," and Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of the book "SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions."

Brown and Wood shared their takes, which sometimes align, and sometimes provide contrast.

With anything, it's important to note that context is everything and that a photograph is only a split-second moment captured on film. That said, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then these photos of Prince Charles and Princess Diana speak volumes.

February 1981: Charles and Diana's engagement photos

Royal Engagement
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer outside Buckingham Palace after announcing their engagement. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Brown: "Charles is looking down and through the tops of his eyes. Diana's not reaching for him. She's not 100 percent comfortable with being in the limelight because her one arm is straight and the other arm is crossed – she's protecting. It's not an elegant look. We would never see this from her in her later years. This is all new to her, it's brand new."

Wood: "He’s got this big smile on his face. She is leaning her head in his direction and towards him. She’s got a smile on her face, but you see her doing a 'locked cross,' meaning her arm is wrapped all around her body and she’s grabbing it on the other side. That creates a locked wall of 'I don’t want you to enter here.'

"His hands are on her shoulders, but it doesn’t seem to relax her body. If you look at her body, it looks like a block, everything looks square. Normally, if your partner is comforting you or if the touch relaxes or warms you, your body would have more roundness to it, softness."

March 1981: The lead-up to the wedding

Charles And Diana
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer attend their first public engagement together at London's Goldsmith's Hall. Princess Diana Archive / Getty Images

Brown: "Charles appears confident, like things are going well. Dian's not happy in this moment – the angle of her neck and her eyes are really wide as well."

Wood: "What's significant about her, if you look, you how downward her body language is. It actually pulls your energy down. Here she is, in a limo, gorgeous dress, perfect hair and makeup and she looks down and defeated and looking off to the side. It's a sharp contrast to how he looks. He's got a 'I'm looking good tonight' look on his face. The disconnect is dramatic."

Trio of English Royalty
Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles pose with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace. Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Brown: "This is not Diana's best moment. In this moment, she's not engaged in the situation. We see her hand kind of drape here. There's not reassurance or support or anything to show commitment behind that. There's no certainty. Charles? He is in his element here."

Wood: "I like that her arm is relaxed and interlaced and I do like the fact that he has somewhat of a smile and she has somewhat of a smile on her face. That little sort of expression on her face is, 'He's mine, not yours anymore.'"

July 1981: The wedding

Royal Wedding Of Prince Charles And Diana Spencer
Prince Charles And Princess Diana kissing on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day. Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Get

Brown: "She’s the one leaning in for the kiss. We can’t see what their hands are doing towards their middles, but they’re certainly not embracing with their outward hands. The little girls are holding her hand, so there may be a situational reason as to why she’s not reaching with that hand."

Wood: "His torso is tense tight and held straight up and erect in a way that distances him from here his head comes is a bit to kiss her. She, however, lifts leans her body in towards him, and has a smile as she kisses him." 

August 1981: Honeymooning aboard the royal yacht and Balmoral

Royal Honeymoon Cruise
Prince Charles and Princess Diana leave Gibraltar on the Royal Yacht Britannia for their honeymoon cruise. Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Get

Brown: "He's reached for her, she has not reached for him and they are not even looking the same thing at all. One of her arms is behind her back. Whenever you put your arm behind your back, that's hiding or wanting to protect and not doing outreach. And he's not focused on the same thing at all. It speaks on partnership that is focused differently."

Wood: "What's most significant is her feet because there's some part of her comforting him in this photo. She has her feet pointed towards him and her hand wrapped around him. The elbow, out and away, says, 'I am strong.' Part of her is comforting him, but there's a part of her that's maintaining her power as she does that."

Diana Charles Honeymoon
Prince Charles And Princess Diana on their honeymoon at Balmoral. Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Get

Brown: "Diana's much more comfortable in her skin in this photo. We see a genuine smile, we see her eyes smile. She's got her hands wrapped around his, so she's pretty into him at this point. She's happier than he is, but at least their attention is going in the same direction, which we don't see in a lot of their pictures."

Wood: "This is very unusual, compared to the rest of the relationship. She’s relaxing into him, in to merge with him, which is quite lovely. He has his arm and hand, between her legs. It’s very intimate. I love that her head rests a tiny bit on his shoulder and she has a look on her face like, 'I’m so, so happy.' He’s leaning towards her. It’s a lovely merging. Their bodies look almost like a heart."

March 1983: Charles and Diana tour Australia — together but 'far apart'

Charles and Diana Visit Australia
Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit Ayers Rock (Uluru) during their tript o Australia.John Shelley Collection/Avalon / Getty Images

Brown: "What's interesting is that they're not that close. They're hiking and this is not how you hike, with your hands in front of you. There's some deep emotional stuff in this picture. It's not unusual to look that far down, but to look that far down when you hike ... there's a lot of deep negativity from Diana."

Wood: "They are so far apart. These two people are not connected to each other. He's down and facing away. She's walking on sand and he's not assisting her or waiting for her, which tells me he's not comforting. And, even though Diana is walking, she's got her hands in the 'fig leaf' configuration, protecting herself. Even in this situation, where she's several steps back, she feels the need to protect herself."

Anwar Hussein Collection
Prince Charles and Princess Diana at a gala dinner and dance at the Wentworth Hotel in Australia.Anwar Hussein / Getty Images

Brown: "Look at that big smile from her. He is peacefully resting on her shoulder and leaning in in a way that we don't see from him often. They're in step."

Wood: "We rarely see see her in full-tooth, showing a smile. The eyes go down in a smile — she's so happy in this moment. He's not going away from her, which is nice. The thing that you don't see often is that she's just so lifted up and happy."

Diana Princess of Wales and Prince Charles visit Newcastle, Australia
Princess Diana and Prince Charles during the Royal Tour of Australia. David Levenson / Getty Images

Brown: She’s smiling in this moment, he’s smiling. A smile isn’t just with your lips, a smile actually happens with your eyes. True happiness comes from your eyes. You smile with your eyes – the mouth is kind of an afterthought.

Wood: "They are happy and they're sharing that happiness. If you look at her hands, instead of being interlaced or locked together, they're just lightly resting. You can see space underneath the arms, her elbows are out on the arms of the chair. If you look at the center of torso of her body, it's not a box. It's more relaxed, at ease."

June 1985: A 'great moment' for the couple

Diana And Charles Affectionate
Princess Diana presents Prince Charles with a trophy after the prince's victory in a polo match.Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Get

Brown: "He's looking in, they're looking at each other's eyes. He's happy, she's happy. This is a great moment for them."

Wood: "They're having a moment together as a couple. You see her with a big, full, open-mouth smile. They're making eye contact with each other and are mirroring each other's facial expressions. He's holding the cup towards her and letting her hold it."

December 1986: Posing for the Christmas card

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales
Prince Charles and Princess Diana at home in Kensington Palace with Prince William and Prince Harry. Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Get

Brown: "You've got two future kings there, the guy's kind of in charge of the family, so she's going to be behind. If you look at William and Harry, they look a great deal happier than Charles. She looks pretty happy. Charles doesn't usually emote, so that's about as happy as I've ever seen him."

Wood: "What I find interesting is her feet are pointed forward, close together. Feet are always the most revealing – they are under the least amount of conscious control. Her feet aren't towards him and they're not towards her family. It's almost like she is photoshopped into the photo. If your husband and kids are off to your side, your feet are typically, subconsciously, going to go towards what you're attracted to or least fearful of."

June 1987: Diana presents a prize to Charles

Diana Kissing Charles
Princess Diana presents a prize to the prince after a match at Guards Polo Club. Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Get

Brown: "She is leaning in and he is not. Granted, he's just gotten done with a polo event. But his lips are just sort of ... there. It doesn't look like he's actually doing a kiss. She's got her hand on his shoulder, we don't know where his left hand is. This is all her, it was her idea for this kiss."

Wood: "The thing that's nice is she's actually giggling, smiling into the kiss. She's got her arm on him, her head is going towards him. What's interesting is his chest is slightly pulled back and shoulders are slightly back instead of forward towards her. In other words, she has a slight lean to him, he's not mirroring that back to her. His lips are closed. She wants that kiss and he's not giving back the full kiss."

August 1987: A 'together' moment at the Queen Mother's birthday

Royal Family At Clarence House
Prince Charles and Princess Diana celebrate the Queen Mother's 87th birthday with other members of the royal family in London. Tim Graham / Getty Images

Brown: "This is one of the most 'together' pictures we've seen from them because they're both doing the same thing. They're not tight and close, but they're both looking at each other. Their hands are both behind their backs. This is one of those moments where they're a unit. We see them focused in one energy and one emotion."

Wood: "Charles always has his arms behind the back. The royal resting position for the prince is to stand that way, but Diana's doing it, so her hands are not in front of her, protecting. She's mirroring him, which shows a lot more power on her part. She didn't do this in the beginning of the marriage. They're making eye contact, but they're communicating a negative message to each other with that eye contact."

November 1987: On 'two different pages' at a gala

Diana And Charles In Germany
Prince Charles and Princess Diana attend a function in Germany. Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Get

Brown: "Their attention is going in different directions here. Their body language doesn’t match at all. In good couples, we’ll see their body language starts to match or mirror the other one’s and you’ll see that in pictures. We’re not seeing that here, so they’re on two different pages."

Wood: "They don't look like a couple, they look like strangers who just happen to be standing close to each other. He's doing this protective neck or tie adjustment, and what it does is block him from intimacy with her. It keeps his shoulder as a wall to her and keeps his hand from having to figure out whether he should be showing closeness or holding near her. What's interesting is that she's got a bit of a 'come hither' look on her face, but it's not to him."

March 1990: 'Log cabin' vs. 'power steeple' in Cameroon

Diana Princess of Wales and Prince Charles watch a dancing display
Princess Diana and Prince Charles watch a dancing display Bamenda, Cameroon during a royal tour. David Levenson / Getty Images

Wood: "He's doing a raised 'partial steeple.' He's saying he'd like power and control over the situation. It's typically something men do around other men to assert their power and superior status. She's doing what's called a "log cabin," with interlaced fingers going out and that's protecting her vulnerability. She feels a need to protect herself from scrutiny."

October 1991: 'Checked out' in Toronto

Charles And Diana
The Prince and Princess of Wales attend a welcome ceremony in Toronto.Princess Diana Archive / Getty Images

Brown: "The royals don’t cross their legs, that’s a rule, so she’s following protocol there — but she doesn’t want to be there. We might see a bit of sadness, but for sure we see her being emotionally checked out. He’s checked out from the event and he’s checked out from her."

Wood: "This is more a posture of a little girl in Sunday school. The knees are very close together, the hands on the lap. What is the most significant for them as a couple is the slouch of her shoulders. She is shouldering away from him, she's protecting herself away from him. If you look at the spacing between them, the 'intimate zone of space' is usually zero to 14 inches. In this picture, it's over 14 inches. If the chairs were placed there and they wanted to subconsciously show their connection, they would be leaning towards each other slightly and we're not seeing that. He's looking down and disengaged."

November 1992: 'Hearts oriented away' a month before the separation was announced

Charles And Diana Unhappy
was Prince Charles And Princess Diana in South Korea. It's the last official trip together prior to their separation.Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Get

Brown: "She's got her back turned to him. He’s holding space like has to be there. We don’t see him necessarily unhappy, but we see him at peace and we see his hands behind him — a very royal thing to do. We see something different from him. She’s protecting herself just a bit because her hands are in a fig leaf position."

Wood: "If you didn't know they were a couple, their body positions don't indicate that they are a couple. His heart is oriented away from her and her heart is oriented away from him."

Royals In Seoul
Prince Charles and Princess Diana arrive in Seoul, South Korea for an official visit. Princess Diana Archive / Getty Images

Brown: "This reads to me like an empty gaze. She's not looking at him, he's looking at her. She's looking at the back of the seat, like that's more interesting."

Wood: "She's got her head down and not looking at him and he's trying to engage with her. Look how close she is to the window and the exit of the door. She's got her body just about as close as she could be and not be out of the car and look how far away she is from him. He's trying to engage with her and she's like, 'I just need to get away from you.'"