Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Alleged Tell-All Book Violates the Most Important Royal Family Rule — ‘Never Complain, Never Explain’

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex have been marching to the beat of their own drummer since the beginning. It all started with their highly unusual wedding celebration and continued right up until the moment they bid their roles as senior royals goodbye. Recent rumors of a tell-all book in the works should come as a shock to no one.

The potential book is being compared to Princess Diana’s bombshell collaboration with Andrew Morton, Diana: Her True Story. But there is one major difference between Diana’s decision and that of Harry and Meghan.

While Diana had left the royal family for good and cared nothing for their stodgy traditions anymore, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are trying not to sever ties completely. Yet in the meantime, they’re breaking the cardinal rule of being royal.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Queen Elizabeth takes the motto ‘never complain, never explain’ to heart

The origins of “never complain, never explain” extend back to the 1800s and have been used by Her Majesty for her entire tenure as queen. It’s frankly impressive how personable and well-liked Queen Elizabeth is, yet no one knows precisely how she feels about most divisive political issues.

The queen hosts foreign presidents and dignitaries from both sides of the political spectrum and treats them all equally. She very rarely comments on public scandals and she doesn’t defend herself against critics. In short, she takes the road of silence over getting defensive time and time again.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have much in common with Princess Diana

Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been doing an awful lot of complaining, like when they publicly voiced their disgust with unfair treatment by the press during their royal tour in South Africa. They took the matter further when they filed suits to sue the worst offenders.

That is not how Queen Elizabeth deals with negative attention though. “There has been a long tradition in the British royal family of riding criticism out and keeping your head down and taking the long view,” royal biographer Penny Junor told People. “Crises come and go, and people get criticized — often for five minutes by the media, who then move on.”

One royal who didn’t follow this unwritten rule? Prince Harry’s mother, Diana.

A tell-all book could be the end of Prince Harry’s good relationship with his family

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Harry and Meghan came to an agreement with the queen that they’d reevaluate their new positions one year after their departure from senior royal roles. But if they really do publish a tell-all book in 2020, that relationship could be damaged beyond repair.

The queen was allegedly furious with Diana after her book was released. No matter what Harry and Meghan’s book says, even if it takes a neutral stance, it will still be a one-sided account of what happened and will almost definitely portray the royal family in a negative light.

A book is taking the opposite approach of the royal protocol to “never complain, never explain” and once Prince Harry and Meghan allow their words to be published, there’s no going back.