The Art of Face Reading

Be still. What is your inner voice telling you?

“Be more yin, be still, rest, luxuriate in being at home, embrace this opportunity to do nothing, to sit and listen to the birdsong, to walk quietly in nature.” This is the one consistent message I hear when I go inward. For decades we have been living in an increasingly yang world, with incessant movement, activity, growth, busyness. No time to tune in with our inner voice, to drop the mental chatter, to know who we truly are and what we really want to manifest in our lives – as opposed to what we think we have to keep doing in order to pay the bills and survive (in that order).

For what emerges when we pause? Insights, inspiration, natural creativity and resourcefulness bubble up when given the space, when we allow ourselves to be still and receptive. Whether it’s through gardening – even if it’s just a window box, or cooking, painting or marvelling at a bird, hare, deer or beautiful flower or tree blossom because we have a greater desire to go out for walks in parks or the countryside, or just being more present with our family and animals. Our bodies breathe a sigh of relief.

What also rears its head in these times of quiet is the deeper unrest, fears, doubts, insecurities. They can crowd in and grip us. How am I going to survive with no income? Do I really want to go back to my job after all this? Can I bear to be in this relationship any longer? How do I deal with this chronic illness when I’m not supposed to go to the doctor?

Fundamental questions are arising, have the space to arise if we allow them to, in these extraordinary times. It’s such a rich opportunity for inner exploration and admitting what doesn’t feel right in our lives. But what next instead? How to begin?

Our life experiences are etched on our faces; our dreams and hopes – often buried under the daily grind – emanate from our eyes as a deep yearning beneath all the mental and emotional clutter. In my face readings I focus on identifying and eliciting your innate character, strengths and skills, releasing negative patterns and uncovering your long-neglected dreams, to help bring you back to your original, liberated self. As you start to work in alignment with your original purpose, you will you find you can more easily tap into a greater sense of abundance and invisible support – Mother Earth, the universe, have your back. It’s safe to explore your dreams and start to manifest them.

External life may never get back to “normal”; the signs are that the infrastructure is deeply compromised. The chaos and confusion will continue as the old world drops away. Now is the time for inner alignment, deep transformation, to be brave enough to step into our personal unknowns and reclaim our true spirit, rediscover our individual paths. It is time. Let me help guide you.

I offer face readings via Zoom. Just contact me at

With love


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Embed from Getty Images

Finally, my take on Harry and Meghan! I actually wrote most of this back in September 2017, two months before the couple announced their engagement, when The Daily Telegraph asked to interview me on my thoughts on their compatibility. At last, I have a chance to post it here.

My immediate impression is that they’re very well matched: similar features mean similar personality traits – they both have eyes that are quite close together, similar eyebrows and strong, angular jaws.

The strong jaws make them both very determined. I can see them working well together doing humanitarian work – they will stick to their guns over issues. Harry is likely to win arguments because Meghan is more emotionally driven (with her full lips and bigger eyes); she’ll want to find resolution more. Unless he capitulates to appease her and keep her from getting overdramatic!

They both also have a fieriness – he with his red hair, her with her freckles. They have a riot together – they spark off each other a lot. There’ll be lots of giggles and mischief in this relationship.

Where they differ is in the mouth area, with Meghan obviously having much fuller lips. She will be more emotionally expressive, which is good, because she can encourage Harry to have less of the stiff upper lip – to show his vulnerabilities to her (if not in public; he’s far too wary of that). She’ll want to talk about her feelings much more than he will.

What I do see, though, is a layer of anxiety in her eyes. There’s a lovely sparkle on the surface, but there’s quite a lot of insecurity beneath. I suspect they’ve bonded a lot over their experiences of childhood – things like not quite knowing their place in life, having to carve out their roles, their sense of who they are and what their purpose is. Meghan didn’t have an easy ride in her teens – I’d say both of them rebelled against authority to an extent. Her mother was a very strong influence on her, and taught her the importance of lovely manners, of grace, and she will likely want to please and connect with people. All these qualities will lend themselves well to public engagements. She has been brought up to be diplomatic and tactful, even though her nature is more fiery than that. You see, it’s the perception of one’s childhood that matters, not what we assume from the outside that either was like – siblings can have very different responses to the same family experiences.

Both she and Harry grab opportunities though she’s not money-grabbing and is not, in my opinion, ambitious to become part of the royal family. In fact, I think she feels quite overwhelmed by the idea of it and all it entails. It won’t come as naturally to her as it has to Kate. She’s an outsider looking in, and she knows it – way out of her comfort zone. She will inevitably do things differently, not least because she is an American, and won’t know all the etiquette.

Meghan will need a lot of reassurance from Harry, but he may not be able to give her as much as she needs – because of his tougher look. He has high expectations of himself, with his low eyebrows, and expects quite a lot from others. He will encourage her and support her, but may not be comfortable if he has to reassure her constantly or allay any insecurities.

The line between her eyebrows (faint in most pictures, but there) tells me she is wary of authority and hierarchies. She won’t be able to put up with people above her who she doesn’t respect. There’s an inner rebel that pushes against being told what to do. For instance, she may lose it with the paparazzi from time to time, whereas Kate manages to stay contained and dignified at all times. She’ll be more reactive, just as Harry is (this, to me, is mainly from their close-set eyes – they feel things intensely and forget to look at the bigger picture).

Her determination is much more to do with carving out a career for herself, being recognised in her own right. She has no desire to be a passive partner to a royal in this relationship.

Harry has quite a lot of anger and some deeper resentments in him, some of which I’d say probably stem from the deeper frustrations of being a second royal son – feeling intensely but not able to freely follow his own path or muddle his way through because he’s always being scrutinised and judged. He has a daredevil streak, which I don’t see in William’s more even, calm face, that is at odds with the public role he has to play. He’s more honest and immediate with his responses – he finds it hard to conceal that fieriness, as we’ve seen with some of his past behaviour.

Meghan may find some of his moods hard to deal with; that’s when her own insecurities would surface – especially if he chooses to withdraw from her rather than share how he’s feeling. She’s a natural caretaker.

I think Harry has done brilliantly in channelling some of his energy and focus into charity and humanitarian work, a link to his mother’s memory, which he is fiercely protective of. Meghan also has that natural warmth and passion – and strong principles, in her jaw, and dynamic eyebrows – that lend themselves to humanitarian work.

Harry and Meghan could go far in carving out a niche as a high-profile royal couple. By focusing on humanitarian work and helping to make connections between their privileged world and that of people who don’t have a voice, they will begin to heal both their own inner insecurities and sense of otherness, as well as help make the world a more egalitarian and peaceful place.

I wish them well.


How his presidency changed Obama’s face

So what do I see in Barack Obama’s obama_2008_2016changing face? In 2008, when he first took office, he had lots of “dreamy peach luck” radiating from the shen (spirit) in his eyes and glow of his skin, confirming that he had defined hopes and dreams for the future of America at that time. This was reflected in his generosity of spirit and warmth too; optimism expressing itself in his natural smile.

By 2016, there are many signs of frustration and suppressed anger, and his generosity is not so immediate – those lips are tighter, the smile forced. And his energy has been significantly depleted, resulting in the slightly sagging, lined cheeks. Even his chin is narrower: his will has been grated away by detractors, by all those who continually opposed him. There’s more menace, more dark moods and resistance in the picture on the right; he has learnt to stand his ground more, but it has cost him some of the lightness and ease that he displayed in the beginning. He has had to work hard to stay centred. He is very tired, more careworn and more aware of what true suffering means.

But I also see more wisdom, in his third eye and greying hair and in his eyes. No longer the dreamer (for now), he is seeking firmer ground from which to launch the ideas that have emerged as truest to his heart. Although ever the diplomat, he recognises people’s motives more readily. His gaze in 2016 is penetrating and cool, he sees the reality and looks it straight in the eye, in a way that he didn’t quite manage at the beginning. I feel seen by him now.

As Obama constantly demonstrates a buoyant resilience, I have no doubt he will reclaim his zest for life and find more direct ways to help transform people’s lives now he is away from the constrictions and bureaucracy of the presidency. Only this time he will have huge wisdom to draw on from the past eight years. His purpose lines tell me he is only just beginning to show us what he can do. And he is no longer afraid to speak his mind. I’m fascinated to see what he does next.

If he were my client, I’d help him unravel the experiences that have moulded and marked his character and face these past eight years so he can let go of the anger and grief that have begun to weigh him down, and come back to his original light self. This is the magic of face reading.


Behind the mask of Lady Mary

At first glance, Michelle Dockery’s face looks perfect for the part of Lady Mary in Downton Abbey – good casting agents are adept face readers. The actress’s high eyebrows give her an aloof demeanour, and her strong jawline suggests someone with firm principles and beliefs. Her eyebrows are also prominent, and slope upwards to a point, so she may think through choices carefully (especially with that high forehead), but once she has made a decision, she sticks with it and follows through – just as Lady Mary might. Her eyes are also often narrowed, showing an analytical and private nature.

Yet other signs on her face highlight contradictory characteristics. What first strikes me is the line of her lips, which shows Dockery is fine with a bit of rough and tumble – she’s not as delicate and stiff as Lady Mary would have us believe; she is much more physical and robust than her character. Added to this, I suspect her eyebrows are naturally thicker, so she is more assertive and driven than she would have us believe. Having said that, her left eyebrow is higher, so she wants to come across in public as more open, intense and immediate than she really is. In private she may at times be more detached and neutral (shades of Lady Mary here). She’s a very human bundle of contradictions, in other words!

There are indications, from her inner canthi, that Dockery can have a sharp tongue with those close to her – and a “bite” accompanies her naturally authoritative manner, so the cutting remarks she makes to her onscreen sister Edith are not so far off the mark (when she’s pushed by her family). To balance this tendency, though, she has a kind and warm look, so has strong loyalties and protective feelings towards those she loves in real life, as well as in her screen role. There’s a reassuring directness in her gaze, and a lovely clarity to her eyes: what you see is what you get with Michelle.

Dockery is more of a hedonist than she would ever let on in her role; a trait indicated by her lips. And she’s softer and more approachable – and playful. Although her own upbringing was freer and she was encouraged to be independent and go-getting when young, according to her forehead, she did have good manners drummed into her. So she can play the part of a courteous aristocratic lady with ease, but would have rebelled strongly against the suppressive morals and social mores of the turn of the last century.

Her chin is quite long and broad, so she has a formidable will and is a pragmatist. She is also practical and organised. I think there’s a natural posh girl in Michelle Dockery who would be perfectly suited to running a country estate if she ever found herself in that position in real life! Playing Lady Mary might rub off on her yet!

Right. I must get back to Downton Abbey.


George Clooney and his fiancee Amal Alamuddin

The British-Lebanese lawyer is such a great match for George Clooney! Amal Alamuddin has big, expressive eyes and an emotional sensitivity that will draw out his own emotionally attuned character, and she has a lovely wide mouth and full lips, so she is sensual and a strong communicator. She is not afraid to voice her opinions – and with those thick, long and angular eyebrows, she can give him a run for his money in arguments. Her lips are a lot bigger than his, so she will challenge his own tendency to keep his feelings under wraps (confirmed by his lower eyelids and thin upper lip). He has a hedonistic streak, with his larger lower lip, and a wide smile, which means he won’t be fazed by her expansiveness and generosity. The shen (spirit) in his eyes shows lots of sparkling “peach luck” – he draws people in with his warmth, as well as sensual peach luck, which attracts so many admirers, and there’s supportive energy in his eyes too. Alamuddin’s eyes similarly have a sparkle and a passionate, sensual depth to them.

Encouragingly, they have similar noses, which indicate similar values in life. Both noses are broader on close inspection than they first seem, so they both work for the money as well as the satisfaction! They also both like their creature comforts (especially Clooney, with his rounded nose tip). He is developing more flesh on his face, noticeably on his earlobes, so I get the sense that he does have one eye on the future and is accumulating in order to sustain his lifestyle.

Most of all, I feel it’s Alamuddin’s very independent spirit that has set her apart from his previous girlfriends. Her well-defined and broad jaw and those thick, dark eyebrows indicate high levels of assertiveness (and testosterone). I wonder if she has the edge on him here – though his chin is longer, so he can hold out for longer using his willpower. She also has a a lot of “watery” energy, in five-element terms: he won’t easily be able to pin her down. She can be skittish and unpredictable at times – mainly because there’s a layer of fear just beneath the surface. This resonates with his own inner nervous energy and impulse to keep moving, which is stronger than we might realise.

He will like the fact that she doesn’t use feminine wiles with him. He doesn’t trust people as easily as he might appear to, but her open manner (with him in private) and her sincerity and warmth will have reassured him. In fact, they may well have bonded over their mutual wariness of others’ motives, for she too has signs of distrust on her face. Until now she has used a certain aloofness (in those high eyebrows) to keep most men at bay in her private life.

I get a sense that Alamuddin will bring out Clooney’s emotional side more. Perhaps he’ll become a father, even*? The more he allows his heart to open up to her, the more he won’t feel the need to drink or escape through other diversions or altered states. They are both hard-workers, which may well be what anchors them and sustains their marriage; they both have a lot of drive and determination in their faces, and channelling this into work will be healthier than fixating on the marriage itself. They’re both too independent and active to settle into domestic routine and “earthiness”; it will suit them to have times apart as they pursue their own careers. When they come together again, passion will be foremost, then sharing ideas – especially when it comes to humanitarian projects. They’re both risk-takers (large ears) and seek a deeper meaning to existence.

Don’t be fooled by Alamuddin’s apparent shyness, either. The distinct cleft in her chin means she secretly (or not so secretly) likes to be the centre of attention. And she has got the energy and fortitude to deal with scrutiny, though it could exhaust her. She couldn’t have committed to Clooney, voted sexiest man alive, if she didn’t feel she could take on the challenge of being high-profile! They both have a strong sense of humour, which will carry them through difficult times too.

From their faces, I envisage a marriage that will be passionate and at times stormy, because neither of them is passive or placid, but it has strong foundations. When people who have a lot of the water element in them commit, they are steadfast and loyal. Both Clooney and Alamuddin are intuitive and have heeded life’s lessons (wisdom is indicated in their eyes, shen and other Water features). They’ll need these qualities to stay centred and keep the inner workings of their relationship private while the media circus dances around them.


*They have since had twins (in June 2017).

Chef snapshot: Blumenthal and Caines

Same profession, different approaches – and it’s all in the face. Compare the difference in styles between the chefs Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck at Bray) and Michael Caines of Gidleigh Park, Devon, which has been voted best UK restaurant*.

Both seek to provide sublime culinary experiences for all the senses, and both have garnered high praise, but Blumenthal has done this using a scientific, experimental approach to cooking, while Caines focuses on sourcing prime local ingredients, and bringing all his senses to bear.

“I’m not one for fireworks and dry ice,” says Caines. “It’s about the texture and flavour.” The lower third of his face is strong, broad and filled out, and his lips full – he relies on instinct and on how the food feels to him; and his eyes have a warm, nurturing quality. His earthy, fleshy features show that camaderie among his staff is also important to him. He likes to create a family wherever he goes.

In contrast, Blumenthal has a playful but cerebral attitude – look at the glint in his eyes, with their direct but mischievous gaze. His head is shaved, exposing the receding corners of his forehead (an extrapolative mind) and he is too busy inventing and pushing the boundaries to eat much of what he produces (slightly hollowed cheeks) – although in recent pictures he has become more fleshy and earthy; he is steadily becoming more grounded and less lab-obsessive.

For both, cooking is an escape from the ordinariness of life (as shown by their temples). They both seek intensity as well as the satisfaction of hard work (strong noses and chins). Neither has big ears yet both have worked outside their comfort zones and taken professional risks – their strong spirits drive them continually to rise to new challenges, and have fun in the process. Just look at the clarity in their eyes – their shen shines out.


*Quotes from The Sunday Times Food List, November 2013

What is face reading?

Face reading is one of the original Taoist arts, along with acupuncture, tai chi and other alchemical practices. It goes back several thousand years in classical Chinese medicine, and was used to diagnose illness, determine compatibility in marriage and to understand people’s characters better in business.

I have learnt my skills from Lillian Bridges of the Lotus Institute in Seattle, whose Chinese ancestors passed their knowledge down through the generations to her. She has combined their wisdom with her own meticulous research of medical and psychology journals, to make face reading an accurate and hugely insightful tool that’s relevant to our lives today. “Your face becomes a map of your life,” she says. “It is the window into the workings of the body, mind and emotions.”

In a face reading with me, you will be given detailed information about your health and potential health issues, and insights into your character and emotions, as well as advice on how to dissolve the patterns and habits that are holding you back. Let me reveal to you how to manifest more of your potential so you can share your unique combination of assets and gifts with the world and feel more fulfilled as a result.

“When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete, 
everybody will respect you.” 
Verse 8, Tao Te Ching.

A consultation with me costs £100 and lasts an hour. I’m based in north London, but I also do email readings.


Saffron Ellidge LicAc
Master Face Reader and Acupuncturist
Tel: 07810 864 320
Email: saffron[at] and

Snapshot: Jack Nicholson

Every forehead line tells a story

I was watching Easy Rider recently and was struck by the deep line across Jack Nicholson’s forehead, evident when he was only 32 (this is what happens when you’re a face reader: you can’t watch a film without getting distracted by an unusual feature or spotting an actor’s secret health issues).

The horizontal line is just over halfway down his forehead, and in Chinese Medicine it indicates that something life-changing happened to him around the age of 22 to 24. It could have been an emotional experience, an accident, a death in the family, or a breakthrough with finding his path in life – or several such events. An unbroken line such as Nicholson’s shows that his perspective shifted fundamentally at this time.

So I did some research on him to find out what the experience might have been, what changed the course of his life so dramatically (even if only on an internal level, which these lines can also indicate).

Several things emerged. Born in April 1937, he had moved to Los Angeles to live with his older sister, June, when he was 17, in 1954. “I wanted to get as far away from the rest of my family as possible. But I still had no aspirations of becoming an actor,” Nicholson said in an interview decades later (with Arthur Marx for Cigar Aficionado; Summer 1995). June had started off as a dancer but had already given it up. Jack, meanwhile, earned money in various ways before June encouraged him to get a proper job; so he became an errand boy for MGM Studios – which led on to acting.

His film debut was in Cry Baby Killer in 1958 – when he was 21. He acted in four more films, including Little Shop of Horrors, in 1960, and started writing and directing. At this pivotal age, he had found his metier, and “One movie critic singled him out as a potential star,” according to Arthur Marx – though it was another 11 years before his breakthrough role in Easy Rider in 1969.

In 1962 he married Sandra Knight, a young actress, and a year later they had a daughter, Jennifer – another major life event for a young man. This same year of 1963, his devoted sister June died of cervical cancer.

An added twist emerged years later: his sister June was discovered to be his mother, and his parents, John and Ethel, turned out to be his grandparents (a journalist from Time magazine unearthed this in 1974). Interviewed decades later in Playboy, Nicholson said: “I’d say it was a pretty dramatic event, but it wasn’t what I’d call traumatising. As a matter of fact, it made quite a few things clearer to me.

“There were certain things about my relationship with my actual mother, whom I thought was my sister, that clarified when I learnt the truth… Your mother relates to you differently than your sister does. I felt a new empathy for my mother. I remember thinking, What are you worried about? when my sister doted on me, but of course a mother would worry.”

To sum up: during his early twenties, and in particular between the ages of 22 and 24, Nicholson launched his career as an actor; met and married his only wife and had his first child; and lost the older sister who had doted on him and who was revealed later to be his mother.

To me, the intense but slightly mysterious nature of his relationship with his sister/mother underpins Nicholson’s formative experiences and his subsequent life trajectory – and may account for the depth of his forehead line. June had been an aspiring actress herself, gave him an escape route from his family and a place to live, encouraged him to get a secure job – which led to his own acting career taking off – and then died just as he got married and had a daughter. Her life was deeply entwined with his. With this complex setup being his early blueprint for relationships with women, it is not surprising to me that he went on to become a self-confessed womaniser. The seeds of our most ingrained habits are sown when we are very young.

And that’s all from a single line on a person’s forehead!


Tom Cruise and his women

The Hollywood actor has a trapezoid face, a shape commonly found in the entertainment industry. It indicates a desire to perform (the instinctive lower third of the face) combined with a strong imagination or inventiveness (in the broad forehead). Of Tom Cruise’s features, the most striking are his low, heavy eyebrows. These denote a competitive spirit, intensity and aggression. His eyebrows have increasingly grown to meet each other in the middle over the years, so he is increasingly entrenched in his beliefs, using aggression to get his way. They indicate an explosive temper, too. Men with these “unibrows” tend to know the potential destructiveness of their anger and do their best to keep a lid on it. His eyebrows hang low over his eyes, too, with a strong brow bone, so he has a propensity to being dogmatic and narrow in his views (this is a useful trait in athletes as it indicates intense focus and commitment), which may explain why his conversion to Scientology has become a bone of contention in his relationships. He needs a lot of physical exercise to channel all his testosterone so that he isn’t overbearing.

With her own strong features but desire to please (more on which later), Katie Holmes was drawn to his intensity and fierce loyalty, his attentiveness and passion, when they first met. However, over time his affections became full-blown possessiveness and controlling behaviour – as indicated by those eyebrows and his chin, which is strong and square, indicating someone with a strong will and fixed beliefs.

Holmes’ relaxed face in early pictures, with her ready wide smile and soft, devoted gaze, show that she liked the attention initially – I suspect she’s a Fire element, which means she would respond readily to praise, flattery or attention. She was in love, feeling romantic, at the beginning – she really did believe she’d found her man. He, in turn, in early photographs is also all smiles, and is constantly looking very directly at her. He’s proud of her – big smiles, steering her on the red carpet and in front of paparazzi, presenting her as his new girlfriend then wife. The direct look gives away his more possessive latent tendencies, which emerged later.

With her wide jaw, strong eyebrows and cheekbones, she was quite a good match for him; he wouldn’t have been attracted to a woman with weaker features. However, her strong features also indicate that she is a very independent woman – a broad jaw denotes someone who isn’t comfortable compromising – but it can also mean strong loyalties, which may have made her determined initially to make her marriage work.

Fascinatingly, if you look at her jaw in pictures as the years pass, you can see it becoming steely after a couple of years with Cruise. Even when she is smiling in public with him, her jaw is slightly tense, her smile a bit too fixed and her eyes increasingly blank, as she starts to withdraw from him emotionally and becomes more secretive, defensive and self-protective in a reaction against his controlling nature. Resentment is beginning to build up. (Early pictures show that she started out with a soft jaw and dreamy expression.)

Nicole Kidman, who was married to Cruise for 10 years, could handle him better – being cooler. She displayed an inner steeliness that stopped him from controlling her as much as he would have liked. This cooler, more self-reliant nature is indicated by her pale face, strong cheekbones and cool, slightly detached gaze. She didn’t lose her identity in the way that Holmes, who likes to please people more (watch how she giggles and plays with looking demure in interviews), has been largely stifled and overshadowed by Cruise – until now. Interestingly, it was Cruise who filed for divorce from Kidman. Both women, ultimately, have well-defined jaws and good eyebrows, so both had the energy and commitment to fight for their freedom and walk away from him. Prepare for Holmes to show what she is truly made of as an actress, now she has stopped channeling her energy into a dysfunctional, stifling marriage.

All the high-profile women with whom Cruise has had relationships – Mimi Rogers, Kidman, Penelope Cruz and Holmes – have had the same performers’ face shape – with broad foreheads and strong jaws. The kind of beauty he is attracted to is underpinned by their strong beliefs, passions and determination. He then has attempted to dominate and control each of them. And all of them have rebelled! Will he choose a softer-jawed, more dependent woman next time, on whom he can more easily impress his Scientology beliefs? If he hasn’t learnt, he will follow the same cycle of attract, attempt to control, then divorce.

Cruz has strong, long eyebrows, so gave as good as she got in arguments – she could match his temper. And with her large eyes and wide mouth, she didn’t hold back her fiery, passionate emotions with him, either. His own strong eyebrows would have liked this challenge, but ultimately he isn’t happy if he can’t dominate – and win. He’s very competitive with those eyebrows nearly meeting in the middle (though he tries to keep them plucked and in check. Their relationship didn’t last long.

He applies the same competitiveness – and dedication – to his work, which makes him such a successful actor. His drive and ambition (his strong nose re-emphasises this) has helped him to become a Hollywood star. And he will do whatever it takes not to let his image suffer in the wake of the criticisms coming out about him in his private life.

Body language

I believe it will emerge that Katie Holmes started to feel confined in the relationship within two years of their being together. Their body language started to change around 2008. Instead of moving towards him, seeking approbation or enjoying his attention, as she had initially, she started to pull away. The more she pulled, the more he tried to control her. She starts to “handle” him – steering his arm, discreetly trying to stop it from overpowering her. Despite her broad smiles in pictures posed together, her hand starts to come up between them, resting on Cruise’s chest. This is usually a subconscious device to create psychological space and a slight physical distance. It makes him, in contrast, look even more as though he is trying to possess her.

Holmes, like the other successful actresses he has been involved with, is not going to let any man possess her. They are all stars in their own right and don’t need him in order to shine. He was always Cruising for a bruising.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.


The Real Queen

The Queen gives away very little about her true feelings and thoughts, but she can’t hide her face – the most famous face in the world. This is where face reading comes into its own, for it can help us gain insights into this very private person.

After 60 years of exercising discretion, self-discipline and unerring courtesy, the Queen has developed an official mask, a public face. Actually, in face reading the public/private sides of our characters are shown in the two sides of our faces. Her public (right) side exudes warmth, commitment and engagement. Her private (left) side reveals a more bored, sceptical and naturally aloof attitude – but she is also more playful (with those she trusts). She has learnt to suppress her personal feelings in order to fulfil her role with dignity.

She has a powdery white complexion, which is a “Metal” feature, in five element terms. The Metal element represents structure, cool discipline, respect, good manners and controlled, contained emotion; all of which the Queen exemplifies. The powderiness is also a hallmark of advancing age. Old age is a time when we look back more than forward, when our awareness of everything we have lost and regret – including our youth and beauty – becomes more acute. The Queen is naturally conservative and has found it a challenge to balance the rules and rituals of her deeply traditional past with the rapidly changing mores of modern times.

In her twenties she had an oval face, so was naturally diplomatic, charming and a good hostess. Over the years her jaw has filled out; as she has grown in stature and gravitas, her face has taken on the square shape of a leader.

The Queen’s many lines and wrinkles – earned from her active and full life – each tell a story. She is naturally quite sceptical – the lines etched above the outer edge of her right eyebrow indicate a propensity to raise one eyebrow quizzically, as she forms her own opinion of what has been said. She is not easily hoodwinked!

She has many crows’ feet, which is a sign that she laughs a lot in private, with her family, close friends and aides. Small lines in her lips show that she has a quick wit too. But she also has quite deep sorrow lines – the lines that radiate down from the inner corners of her eyes. These lines indicate deep-seated grief; she has, after all, lost her mother, her sister, and her beloved yacht Britannia, among other people and treasured things. Though, having a strong Metal element in her face, she is not comfortable showing her tears.

The horizontal lines on her forehead show the major turning points in her twenties, including her pledge to the Commonwealth during her first overseas tour, aged 21, to dedicate her whole life to the service of her people and, when she was 25, the death of her father, King George VI.

Her hairline comes into her forehead, so her manners were inculcated early in life and soon became second nature for her. She is not silently rebelling against her heavily structured existence. This is backed up by her fairly square chin – she is not prone to emotional outbursts as someone with a more rounded or pointed chin might be (for example, Diana, Princess of Wales).

However, she does have slight disappointment lines coming down from the sides of her mouth. These would indicate that she often purses her lips, in disapproval at events or disappointment at people. The pursed lips, of course, also mean that she often holds back her true opinions. She’s had a lifetime of not giving things away. In fact, I’d almost expect her to have deeper lines here; the fact that she has shallow lines is testament to the fact that she accepts most situations ­– and people – with good grace, and doesn’t respond emotionally to all the situations she encounters. With her constant public commitments, she would have exhausted herself early on if she had engaged too much with everyone she met. This was a lesson Diana did not learn.

Her strong nose was particularly striking when she was younger – and she needed it, to successfully succeed her father. Long, downturned noses are a sign of ambition and shrewdness; without such a strong sense of her role, she may have foundered early on under the weight of her responsibilities. (Her uncle, Edward VIII, had a smaller, upturned nose, so was more of a dilettante.)

Her strength of purpose (symbolised by the lines from her nose to the corners of her mouth) has increased with the years. The depth of these lines indicates that she finds it hard to let go of things and feels loss deeply. I suspect this is her Achilles heel. Not wanting to let go of the tradition and duty she has adhered to all her life has exposed her to accusations of being out of touch at times, most noticeably after Diana’s death. She will need bold people around her – especially the younger generations – keeping her from becoming too rigid.

The Queen has a modest-sized mouth, so is not naturally extravagant, effusive or emotionally expressive. The lines above her mouth indicate how much of her energy she spends on others, possibly to the detriment of her own health. With the daily demands on her to engage with hundreds of strangers, she is quietly and stoically giving a lot of herself. There are also lines under her mouth, so she can sometimes feel resentful or irritated if she feels her commitment is not appreciated.

Her good bone structure – excellent cheekbones when younger – have carried her through, and ensured her dominance over her family behind closed doors. She will have been very firm with her children when they were young, and although she is more “grannyish” in her appearance now, with softer features, she has retained her bone structure, so will demand respect and a certain amount of obedience from her grandchildren. Having said that, her softer cheeks and jaw indicate that she has softened with time. She is probably more sympathetic now to her family’s foibles, and more indulgent with her grandchildren.

I’m struck by her kind eyes. She does seem a genuinely compassionate person, with a sincere interest in people. Her warmth and gentleness can be seen almost every time she greets people. Her smile is fairly genuine – her eyes do crinkle up – though it does become fixed at times, unsurprisingly, and her left eye, the private side of her, has a noticeably cooler gaze than her right eye.

Her large ears have stood her in good stead, as they indicate a strong constitution and good core energy. They also show that she is comfortable taking risks. We see this clearly when she is among horses, and in her refusal to wear a riding hat. Given a different life, she could easily have taken more physical and emotional risks. Very practical (strong central section of her face) and with the pragmatism of her square chin, she would have suited a hands-on life, probably in the country surrounded by dogs and horses (Princess Anne has interestingly followed this path).

Her demure demeanour and poise, especially when young, show someone who took responsibility and duty very seriously from an early age. Structure, routine and a received purpose in life have kept her within her boundaries. Her horses and corgis – and outspoken husband – are enough of a diversion from these strictures. Reading her face, I realise she’s happy to be traditional and conservative. Her role has suited her personality, which is, in part, how she has lasted, in these fickle times, for a full 60 years – and with no sign of giving up the throne to Prince Charles. With her continued robustness and health indicated in her broadened jaw line, she is fully living up to her pledge: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

To me, her face shows that she “belongs” very much in her role as Queen.