ASCOT, ENGLAND – JUNE 19: (2ndL-R) Natalie Salmon, Amber Le Bon, Sabrina Percy, Isabel Getty, Rosanna Falconer, Daisy Knatchbull and Sarah Ann Macklin are seen in the Royal Enclosure on day 2 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2019 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse )
ASCOT, ENGLAND – JUNE 19: Amber Le Bon, Lady Sabrina Percy and Isabel Getty are seen in the Royal Enclosure on day 2 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2019 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse )
Don’t complain and don’t explain, the mystique of the monarchy! Is this a lost art?
The Queen Mother had a famously simple rulebook for members of the British royal family to follow if they wished to preserve their dignity and popularity: ‘Never complain, never explain, and rarely be heard speaking in public.’
She followed this maxim to the letter for 101 gloriously successful years, and died a deeply beloved and deeply respected woman without most Britons ever having heard her speak a single word.
I thought of her today, the late great Queen Elizabeth – mother of Queen Elizabeth II – after feeling myself drowning under a tsunami of competing media blitzes from the current crop of younger royals.
And I suspect she is looking down with a disapproving frown, saying to herself: ‘One’s had enough already!’
I don’t know what’s really going on in the reportedly feuding Palace life of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but I do know they’re behaving like they’re in a royal reality TV show where the winner gets most press coverage in a short period of time.
Leading the charge, naturally, is the Hollywood actress who seems to view publicity as a giant tiara-adorned tap from which she wishes to determinedly control every single droplet.
You’d think Meghan might have cooled the self-promoting jets after the recent birth of son Archie, given how much attention it attracted.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, at 5am, she and Prince Harry bombarded us with 14 photographs on their ‘Sussex Royal’ Instagram page to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
The carefully selected images, all personally approved by the couple to show them in a ‘perfect’ light, formed part of a gushing video montage accompanied by the song This Little Light of Mine that was played as they left St George’s Chapel, Windsor on their wedding day.
It included a message to their 8.2 million Instagram followers: ‘Thank you for all of the love and support from so many of you around the world. Each of you made this day even more meaningful.’
All 8.2 million of these complete strangers made their wedding day ‘even more meaningful’?
I’d love to ask Harry and Meghan to name any one of the 8.2 million random people they believe made their day ‘even more meaningful’. Especially as some of Harry’s closest long-time male friends were not even deemed ‘meaningful’ enough to get an invited to their star-studded evening wedding party.
There’s also a delicious irony in them being so aggressively self-promoting on social media, just weeks after Harry launched a campaign to stop people using social media so much because of the mental health damage he believes it causes.
Just as with his unfortunate tendency to preach about saving the planet as he uses helicopters for 100 mile journeys, I’m afraid it all smacks of ‘do what we say, not what we do..’
The whiff of hypocrisy stretches wider.
Harry and Meghan’s wedding anniversary photos appeared at the same time as some of her closest friends gave interviews to a US TV documentary airing on CBS in America, hosted by Gayle King, her new good friend and Oprah Winfrey’s old best friend.
She was never a friend to MM until she married Harry
The friends, led by her tearful long time make-up artist Daniel Martin, lined up to say how fabulous Meghan is, what a ‘low maintenance and hands on’ mother she will be, how unfair all the negative press about her has been, and how she is categorically ‘NOT A DIVA!’
(Pro tip: whenever people repeatedly have to get their friends to deny they’re a diva, you know they’re a diva)
This is the second time Meghan’s close friends have gone public to defend her – on the previous occasion it was in People magazine to counter adverse headlines over the father she’s shunned – and both times she briefed the press that it had nothing to do with her.
To which I say: poppycock.
Of course she approved her friends to talk out.
You think any of them would risk her freezing them out, as she has so many other people in her past including her own father, if she hadn’t?
Meghan’s an actress who is very used to spinning favourable media coverage. And spinning it she most definitely is.
But this is a very dangerous game to play when your husband has made such a song and dance about demanding privacy from the media, especially in relation to his wife.
I was already exhausted by the relentless Sussex PR onslaught in the past couple of weeks.
But then came the Cambridges.
Not to be outdone by their Kensington Palace rivals, Prince Williams and his wife Kate raced to post their own photographs, of their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The images, which appeared on the Kensington Palace Instagram page at 10pm last night, were intimate family pictures but taken in a very controlled manner.
No chance of any paparazzi getting an ‘unapproved’ shot.
The message from the photos was clear: ‘We’re also great parents, and also a great couple too!’
Just a few minutes later, in a BBC TV programme, Prince William appeared in his latest mental health initiative, using soccer to encourage men to speak about their emotions.
With all due respect to William, barely a week goes by these days when either he or Harry isn’t beseeching we men to gush about our emotions, even if many of us don’t want to thanks all the same.
His latest entreaty meant that in the space of just a few hours, the media that both Princes profess to dislike, were deliberately bombarded with a torrent of photos, quotes and stories – all competing for attention from newspapers, television and radio.
That’s not the way the carefully coordinated way the royals usually do things, and it’s not a way they should do things.
It smacks of both royal camps trying to get one over each other, which if true will just further fuel all the feud rumours.
Meanwhile, there’s another problem that I think is important to highlight: more senior members of the Royal Family are seeing their hard work virtually ignored by the media.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, both septuagenarians, just finished a very successful tour of Germany that barely registered on the media spectrum due to the latest PR blitz from the younger royals.
In March, Charles and Camilla also performed 50 engagements on 10 different islands during their equally successful tour of the Caribbean, including Cuba.
Yet that too was virtually blown away by incessant Meghan, Harry, Wills, Kate news.
That’s hardly surprising given how intensely personal and touchy-feely these younger royals prefer to be.
Of course, it was Princess Diana who sparked all this new style ‘emoting’.
She was the Queen of Hearts who never stopped complaining, explaining and speaking in public.
I loved Diana but the royals have never been quite the same since she detonated onto the global stage as a genuine A-list celebrity superstar, but also as someone who very publicly wore her heart on her sleeve.
Old-fashioned decorum is now frowned upon, a stiff upper lip even more reviled, and silence most definitely not considered golden.
Yet the biggest royal star of them all, Her Majesty the Queen, is universally revered – just like her mother before her – for behaving in exactly that way.
There’s a balance to be struck between being a proper royal and being relatable – and right now, I think the Sussexes and Cambridges are missing it.
It’s time for them to stop their silly PR war, and to stop overloading us with so much self-promoting ‘stuff’.
As William and Harry’s great-grandmother would tell them if she were still alive: stop complaining, stop explaining, and stop speaking – and emoting! – so much in public.
Does that mean they are not trustworthy and are indeed actors themselves that don’t deserve the privileges the English people allow? I mean I love the monarchy, and they are the part of the mystique that makes the United Kindom so magical. The changing of the guards and the brightly colored uniforms representing the BRF is a scam?
HM was pictured with Harry and Meghan admiring the baby, how can this women not realize this is a fake baby? Some are claiming its photoshopped. Wouldn’t the Queen deny that if that were the case? What’s really true? I intend to bring all the chatter that’s happening now so we can together come to a reasonable conclusion.
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The Duke of Sussex attending the Pageant at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the grounds of Windsor Castle. The Pageant marks the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
I would be so much disappointed by the BRF or the Queen if they allowed all of this circus about MM.. and cover up and not calling her out of this fraud… unless they want to end the monarchy? I could really wrong about this sorry… :/
I don’t think the BRF or the Queen will be that stupid to be behind this circus of PH & MM right?.. and if it is then wow this would be the biggest scandal if it really happens… 😕 what do you think?..
They are too dignified for that but have allowed MM to have a free reign. However, I think there is an imaginary toke board keeping count and how many feet of rope Meghan is running with.
HM is still in charge, funny how The royal family twitter or KP doesn’t have this awkward press release up.
This situation is a circus; MM was supposed to be silent and rest Meghan has done everything but that. No matter what, they are going to get the royal docs to confirm the baby is of the body of the Duchess. Will they cover for Harry once again? I guess we shall find out.
While I do not believe that MM is pregnant, I do believe there will be a baby and it will be accepted by the BRF. Why do I believe that? Because the Queen herself said, in her Christmas speech, that they will be welcoming a baby this year. Since the BRF amnounce pregnancies after the 12-week mark, we should have heard by now if it were Kate or Eugenie since it has been more than 12 weeks since the Queen’s speech. Since MM is the only pregnant Royal, it must be MM the Queen was referring. Either that or the Queen outright lied to her subjects.
Or she did not know at the time. Which is what i thought because with the moves that are being made now, she definitely knows SOMETHING. I felt she was being kept in the dark, and was only going by news and whatnot. Could be total opposite, we will never know. I’m looking forward to seeing how this gets pulled off lol