The Royal Family has maintained a dignified silence in the wake of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s most recent revelations. But keen-eyed royal watchers have noticed some subtle digs from the House of Windsor.
Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, have revealed unprecedented insight into life behind Palace walls. Starting with their six-part Netflix documentary series, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told their version of events that led to their shock exit from the Royal Family. It came a month ahead of Harry’s tell-all memoir, which, as promised, delivered “unflinching honesty” with the Prince sharing extraordinarily intimate details of his life. Amid the book’s publication, the Duke sat down for several media interviews, delving into the memoir’s revelations and explaining his decision to reveal all.
In keeping with the Firm’s age-old motto — ‘never explain, never complain’ — the UK-based royals have not commented on the Sussexes’ claims, instead choosing to carry on with their official duties. However, the royals have made subtle digs at their overseas counterparts, often disproving some of Harry and Meghan’s accusations. Here, Express.co.uk looks at all the ways the Royal Family have silently hit back at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The royal colour rule
In their docuseries, Harry and Meghan touched on the rules of the notorious ‘royal protocol’, which supposedly dictates what members of the Firm can and can’t do. The Duchess claimed she purposefully chose not to wear colour during her time as a working royal, explaining she believed senior royals should not wear the same colour. However, several royals seemed to dismiss the theory with their outfit choices at a major royal event last month.
In the lead-up to Christmas, Kate, Princess of Wales, hosted a carol concert at Westminster Abbey. She was accompanied by several members of the family, including her husband, Prince William, the King, and the Queen Consort. For the event, Kate donned a deep burgundy coat, paired with a matching bag and shoes. She wasn’t the only royal wearing the festive colour — William’s cousin Zara Tindall also wore a coat in the same burgundy, and even the Princess of Wales’ seven-year-old daughter, Princess Charlotte, wore the colour. Pippa Matthews, Kate’s younger sister, also stepped out in burgundy. William’s tie matched his wife’s coat, as did Zara’s husband Mike Tindall’s.
Fashion expert and personal stylist Samantha Harman previously told Express.co.uk the royals’ choice to wear the same colour is a “show of solidarity and togetherness”. Similarly, celebrity stylist Miranda Holder said: “It was simply a fashion flex of resilience, showing the world that they shall not be brought down and that they shall keep calm and carry on while looking elegant and stylish in the process.”
Sticking with the sartorial side of royalty, it appears the royals hit back at Meghan’s clothing claim again as they embarked on their first official engagements since Harry’s memoir was released. Last week, both King Charles III and the Prince and Princess of Wales made public appearances as they made an effort to continue with business as usual. During a visit to a hospital in Liverpool, Kate was seen wearing a blue tartan outfit. Elsewhere, Charles was photographed wearing a similarly patterned tartan kilt during a visit to Aboyne and Mid Deeside Community Shed in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Public signs of affection
In his book, Harry claimed the “older generation” of royals maintained a “nearly zero-tolerance prohibition on all physical contact”. Likewise, during the Netflix series, Meghan suggested she faced issues as a “hugger”, referring to a casual dinner she and Harry hosted at their Kensington Palace home at which she was introduced to the then-Duchess of Cambridge for the first time. The Duchess said she wore “ripped jeans” and was “barefoot” when William and Kate arrived.
“Like I was a hugger, always been a hugger. I didn’t realise that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits,” the LA native said. “I guess I’d start to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside, carried through on the inside.” “There is a forward-facing way of being and then you close the door and you relax now. But that formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me,” the Duchess of Sussex further asserted. A friend of the Princess of Wales refuted Meghan’s claim, however, insisting “Kate’s a big hugger”. They told People at the time: “She is warm and friendly and greets everyone with a big hug and kiss. It comes naturally to her to be like that.”
And the royals seem to have further discredited the Sussexes’ claims. At the Christmas Carol concert, members of the Firm were seen affectionately greeting each other as they arrived at the Abbey. In footage from the day, the Princess of Wales can be seen greeting her father-in-law with a kiss on each cheek before curtsying and repeating the same process as she greets Camilla. Charles is then seen saying hello to his grandchildren — Prince George and Princess Charlotte — showering them with kisses, soon after, Camilla greets the Wales children with a hug. Finally, William exchanges a kiss on the cheek with both his father and mother-in-law.
Both the King and the Prince and Princess of Wales carried out their first engagements of the year last week — on the same day. While Charles visited a project in Aberdeenshire, William and Kate spent the day in Merseyside. Their visits, on Thursday, 12 January, came just two days after the publication of Spare, in which Harry claimed the King and Queen Consort were jealous of the younger royals and didn’t want William and Kate “drawing away from them and their causes”. The timing suggests that the royals are putting on a united front in the wake of the Prince’s bombshell claims.
During the visit to Liverpool, Kate was spotted taking a selfie with a royal fan who had gone to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital to get a glimpse of the Princess and her husband. Both Kate and William were seen throwing their arms around wellwishers as they posed for photographs during their tour of the hospital. Moreover, during her visit to a nursery in Luton on Wednesday, Kate was seen posing for selfies with parents.
It raises questions about another claim made in Spare — that members of the Royal Family are required to keep a “distance” from the public. “When working a crowd, you always keep a discreet distance Yourself and Them,” Harry wrote. “Distance was an essential bit of being royal, no less than standing on the balcony, waving to the crowds outside Buckingham Palace, your family all around you.”
It is widely understood that the Royal Family will not comment on any of Harry or Meghan’s claims. However, it has been reported that the estranged royals will hold peace talks ahead of King Charles’ coronation, which is due to be held on May 6. Harry has insisted he is keen to reconcile with his family but has asserted that it is up to them to make the next move, saying the “ball is in their court”.