How Prince Harry Forgot Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Rule
There are a lot of rules to follow when you’re a member of the royal family. Of course, rules are made to be broken and so many have been tossed aside either out of specific circumstance or carelessness at one point or another. The one rule that Queen Elizabeth holds above all others, though, is her Golden Rule: “Never complain, never explain.”
The rule is attributed to many different sources, but the queen says that she took the advice from her own mother and that it has served her well in her decades on the throne. Now it seems the queen’s own grandson, Prince Harry, has forgotten this important rule and is paying the price for it.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex frequently break tradition
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle frequently break royal tradition. From Markle’s clothing choices and the couple’s decision to keep the christening of their son a private affair to the way they shared a kiss on their wedding day, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no strangers to setting aside expectations.
These actions have drawn criticism from some fans of the royal family, but others see the pair as representative of a fresh, modern era. Some fans are particularly impressed by the couple’s feminist acts and break with a tradition that seems to be empowering and more in line with progressive values.
The latest mishap is about air travel
While some of the couple’s decisions to break tradition can be explained by their values, the latest one has more to do with their preferences for comfort and safety. Prince Harry is a vocal proponent of conservation efforts in the face of climate change, so critics have pounced on his and his family’s use of private air travel as glaring hypocrisy.
While he and other members of the royal family typically travel by commercial, Prince Harry and his family have occasionally taken private planes. For one recent trip, they were flown by Elton John, a close friend of Prince Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana. John defended his gift, insisting that the carbon impact was offset with a contribution to Carbon Footprint.
Still, many members of the public were less than thrilled by what they saw as an extravagant travel choice unbecoming of someone speaking out against waste.
Prince Harry breaks Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Rule
If Prince Harry were following his grandmother’s Golden Rule, he would simply remain silent in the face of the criticism. After all, her motto clearly directs him to “never explain.”
Prince Harry; however, did not follow this crucial advice. Instead, he attempted to explain away his decision by focusing on his family’s safety. He justified the extravagance by saying that he flies commercial “99 percent” of the time. He said that when he makes a decision to use a private flight, it is done with his family’s safety in mind and is a matter of finding “balance.”
Just as the queen predicted, explanations have given way to even more criticisms. She believes that the “never explain” part of her rule is important because explanations make the public think they have a right to pry further and make more judgments. That’s certainly what has happened in this case.
Since Prince Harry has come forward with his explanations, critics like royal author Duncan Larcombe have called him a liar. Larcombe told Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid that “I would guess, 40 percent of his time he has been flying privately, so he’s lying.” He went on to point out that his excuse about family safety was inadequate since Prince William, who is heir to the throne and arguably more vulnerable to threats, has traveled commercial with his family.
If Prince Harry had followed the queen’s advice and simply refused to engage with the critics, he may have avoided this deepening scandal. As it is, it looks like he will continue to get criticism for some time.