Prince William Is Beginning to Question If the ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ Policy Is Still Relevant

Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has essentially brought the world to its knees, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge have become the faces of the British royal family. With Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex living their new lives in Los Angeles and Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and the older royal family members in isolation, the Cambridges have taken on much of the responsibility of the royal family.

Though the pair are in isolation at their country home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk with their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, they’ve been active with connecting with frontline workers and with citizens of the U.K. and the Commonwealth through Zoom.

The pandemic has also helped Prince William reconnect with his brother, Prince Harry. In fact, a new documentary suggests that the older prince is beginning to question one of the policies of the royal family that drove his brother away in the first place.

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Prince William and Prince Harry had different views on the press

One of the things that reportedly drive the royal brothers apart in recent years was their differing views on the press. While Prince Harry was not content to sit back and let his wife be continually harassed in the tabloids and media, Prince William took a different approach.

In 2019, when false rumors swirled about an alleged affair he’d had with Kate’s good friend, Rose Hanbury, the Cambridges replied by doing nothing until the rumors eventually died down.

“The really important thing I think and the real difficulty is they just have entirely different parallel narratives about a whole bunch of stuff,” ITV anchor Tom Bradby explained to Good Morning America. “One of which is about their mother’s death. Harry feels quite simply that the press killed his mother and is now in danger of trying to damage his wife. William has a more nuanced view of that. He thinks that yes, their mother did have a very hard time, but also she made a mistake in allowing the press in and he just is absolutely adamant that that shouldn’t happen and he thinks that sometimes his brother is too open and then tries to close up, and that doesn’t work.”

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle refused to adopt the ‘stiff upper lip’ policy

Since Queen Elizabeth II’s reign began in 1952, the royals have adopted a policy of not reacting to rumors and scandals. Instead, they keep calm and carry on. For Meghan, in particular this was not an acceptable way to live.

“What that does internally is probably really damaging,” the Duchess of Sussex reflected in the ITV documentary, Harry and Meghan: An African Journey. “It’s not enough just to survive something, right? That’s not the point of life.”

In fact, leading up to Megxit, the Sussexes constantly brought their concerns about the bullying and terror that Meghan endured to the royals, but they were reportedly brushed aside. “Meghan said Harry made it crystal clear that they could not function in good faith under the current system…and that if it wasn’t revised and updated to their liking, they would have no other choice than to break from the royal family,” an insider explained to Daily Mail.

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Prince William is now rethinking the ‘stiff upper lip’ policy

As the future Crowned King, Prince William will have to bring royal traditions into a wholly modern world. Amid Megxit and the renewed focus on himself and his family, it appears that he’s rethinking some things.

According to Radio Times, in BBC’s forthcoming documentary, Football, Prince William and our Mental Health, Prince William explores a “belief that too rigid an internalization of emotions – so often the way in stiff-upper-lip Britain – is damaging to psychological wellbeing.” He says, “We have to start questioning whether it’s relevant in today’s world.”