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These Are the Hidden Messages In the Official Royal Wedding Portraits

A palace insider dishes exclusive info on the newlyweds.

Kensington Palace just released three official photographs from the royal wedding of Prince Harry, now the Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex, and they're stunning.

The shots were taken by Alexi Lubomirski, the same lensman responsible for the much-talked about stylish engagement photographs of the couple at Frogmore House in Windsor last year. Lubomirski, who is a prince himself and well-known fashion photographer, was given under an hour to get the formal family portrait, wedding party photograph and the portrait of the newlyweds. Before the wedding, he told one interviewer, he had "a vision in mind" and "hoped it would all come together."

It certainly did.

In keeping with the uniquely inclusive and celebratory tone of Harry and Meghan's wedding, Lubomirski managed to infuse the photographs of the couple with an elegance and sexiness not seen in any other royal wedding photographs before. "Harry and Meghan do not want to live like the royal married couples in the past, they are in love—and they aren't afraid of showing it," said a palace insider.

The black-and-white photograph of the couple mirror the pose of the engagement shot and shows a smiling Harry with Meghan leaning against him on the steps of Windsor Castle's East Terrace and was taken shortly after the ceremony. The candid quality of the photograph is very much a departure of the more formal portraits taken of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. "Harry and Meghan have made being royal seem sexy," said my source. "That is certainly very new for this family."

The first group photo is a perfectly staged gathering of the royal family (without four-week-old Prince Louis, who stayed home with his nanny), Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, and the charming young attendants of the bridal party. Meghan and Harry, at the center of the photograph, radiate happiness. "People at the wedding were talking about how in love the couple looked," one palace insider told me. "Their mood was infectious. The family was thrilled to see Harry so happy." Meghan, said the insider, "Radiates confidence. She looks fully comfortable as a duchess in the center of the family."

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, who looked rather serious during the ceremony, were smiling and looked delighted for their grandson in the family portrait. "The Queen is very close to Harry. She has been impressed by Meghan and likes her very much," said my source. Just how fond Her Majesty has grown of her new granddaughter-in-law was plainly evident last Friday, when Meghan's dog, Guy, a beagle she rescued from a Toronto shelter, was spotted riding in the Queen's Range Rover with her. "There is genuine affection there."

Royal watchers were eager to see what Catherine would wear to the wedding as it was her first appearance since being seen outside St. Mary's Hospital seven hours after giving birth to Prince Louis last month. She's in full mommy mode in the family photograph seated with Princess Charlotte in her lap and Prince George beside her. Catherine chose a pale yellow coat dress by Alexander McQueen which wore to Charlotte's christening three years ago. Some fashion watchers criticized her choice as too bridal  and others were surprised she didn't wear something new. "Catherine did not want to wear anything that would take away from the bride," said my source. "So she chose to wear something everyone had seen before. Fashion is the last thing on her mind at the moment." As for its pale color, "It is customary for the royal women to wear pastels to weddings. It was more of a light, buttery color in person."

Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, who displayed such incredible grace and poise (as well as a hint of loneliness) during the church ceremony, is standing next to her daughter in the family portrait looking a bit wistful—understandable, considering she was the only family member from Meghan's family among the 600 guests at the reception. "The royal family were so impressed by her warmth and dignity. They did everything they could to make her feel welcome, but they understand this was little overwhelming for her."

The third photo taken depicts Harry and Meghan with their young attendants which included their niece and nephew, George and Charlotte and the eight other children many of whom were several godchildren and children of their friends: Florence van Cutsem, Remi Litt and her sister Rylan, Ivy Mulroney, Zalie Warren, Jasper Dyer, and seven-year old twins Brian and John Mulroney. "It's a delightful photo of Harry and Meghan surrounded by children," said my source. "It clearly shows how much they love children and how good they are with them. Everyone is excited about them starting a family of their own." Let the royal bump watch begin. And for more great moments from this legendary event, check out The Best Expressions of the Royal Wedding Guest.

Top photo by Ben Birchall – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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