The royal family has plenty of unusual traditions to follow. They are not allowed to speak publicly about politics, they have to carry black clothing with them whenever they travel in case someone dies, and they have to show they are in mourning. The women in the family have to follow a strict set of rules about the makeup they wear and how they style their hair.
One of the rules the royal family is expected to keep has to do with the press. It has been described as Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Rule, and it explains her legendary dignity in the public eye.
The queen refuses to get involved with any of the drama stirred up by the tabloids, and insists her relatives always do the same, declaring: “Never complain, never explain.” But for Prince Harry, following this edict eventually became impossible.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s rough road
When it first came out that Prince Harry was dating an American actress, the public was enraptured. They could not get enough information about Markle, and people were soon emulating her style.
When they were married in May of 2018, royal fans everywhere tuned in to watch the stunning event. The happy couple was wildly popular all over the U.K.
But the tabloids in England have an appetite for scandal, and soon rumors started to swirl about Duchess Meghan being locked in a feud with her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton. In November of that year, Prince Harry and Markle decided to move out of Kensington Palace. They had been living there along with Prince William and Duchess Kate, and speculation about why they left exploded.
Suddenly, the public was lead to believe that Markle, the American upstart, was causing strife for Middleton, a well-loved English girl and the future queen. As far as the press was concerned, the gloves were off.
Things get nasty between the Sussexes and the media
The tabloids weren’t satisfied with guesses about the supposed feud, and they started to really dig. Even when Markle became pregnant and eventually gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, the press continued to hound her.
The royal couple insists that many of the damaging stories that have been printed about Markle and their relationship are outright lies.
Then a tabloid known as The Mail on Sunday got ahold of a private letter Markle had written to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. They published excerpts from the intensely personal message.
For Prince Harry, it was the final straw.
Prince Harry speaks out
It’s rumored Prince Harry always felt regret that he couldn’t protect his mother — the late Princess Diana — from the same treatment, which many believe led to her death. But this time around he is not a child. It was time to leave Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Rule behind: Prince Harry was ready to have his say.
On a website that was created solely for this purpose, Prince Harry posted an announcement. It stated that the press had been engaging in a propaganda campaign against them, and taking advantage of their silence by publishing things that weren’t true. He said that they were taking legal action against The Mail on Sunday for publishing Markle’s letter.
The announcement is unusually emotional and blunt for any communication from the royal family. But although Prince Harry may have disappointed Queen Elizabeth, what he says sounds like a true and loving defense of his wife.
“I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long,” he said. “To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.”
It was a brave thing for him to do. One might even say…princely.