As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle continue to level serious allegations against the royal family, the palace's silence remains unwavering. The Sussexes have accused members of the royal family of racism, leaking stories to the media, and various other transgressions. Yet, the royals' response has been notably muted.
The age-old adage "never complain, never explain" has long been the guiding principle for the royal family, even in the face of harsh allegations from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. In his memoir, Spare, Prince Harry claims that Prince William assaulted him, Camilla, the Queen Consort, spread stories about Meghan to the press, and Kate Middleton refused to share her lip gloss with Meghan. Despite the gravity of these accusations, the royal family remains tight-lipped.
Katie Nicholl, Vanity Fair's royals correspondent and author of The New Royals, explains the palace's "dignified silence" in an interview with The Times. According to Nicholl, who has covered the royal family for nearly 20 years, the palace's reluctance to engage with the Sussexes' claims is a "sensible strategy." By refusing to address every allegation, the royal family avoids fueling the narrative and inadvertently tarnishes Prince Harry's reputation instead.
However, in a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper, Prince Harry suggested that the royal family does "a lot of complaining and explaining" to the press through strategic leaks intended to paint themselves in a positive light or cast others in a negative one. This subterfuge is masked by claims that the press reaches out to Buckingham Palace for comments when, in fact, the palace is the source of the stories.
Late Queen Elizabeth II was a master of speaking only when necessary, as Nicholl points out. Following Harry and Meghan's explosive 2021 interview with Oprah, the palace issued a brief statement on behalf of the Queen, expressing sadness over the couple's difficulties and acknowledging the need to address the allegations of racism privately.
Despite knowing that the royal family is unlikely to comment on his claims, Prince Harry has called their silence "a betrayal and deafening" in a conversation with Tom Bradby. "There comes a point where silence is betrayal," he said, according to Cosmopolitan. "The world is asking for some form of comment from the monarchy. But the silence is deafening. To put it mildly."