LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Isla Phillips stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour 2018 on June 9, 2018 in London, England. The annual ceremony involving over 1400 guardsmen and cavalry, is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King Charles II. The parade marks the official birthday of the Sovereign, even though the Queen's actual birthday is on April 21st. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Isla Phillips stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour 2018 on June 9, 2018 in London, England. The annual ceremony involving over 1400 guardsmen and cavalry, is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King Charles II. The parade marks the official birthday of the Sovereign, even though the Queen's actual birthday is on April 21st. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Kate’s dignified act in Meghan feud

The royal family have been left scrambling after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle lobbed grenade after grenade during their shocking Oprah tell-all.

As the head of The Firm, the Queen was the first to break her silence by issuing a stunningly brief, 61-word formal statement nearly 40 hours after it went to air.

"The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," the statement reads.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.

"While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

Overnight, Prince William hit back, becoming the first member of the family to speak publicly about the feud.

While visiting a school in London with wife Kate, William was asked about the interview which sparked a racism scandal after Harry and Meghan both claimed an unnamed royal had asked how dark their son Archie's skin might be.

"We are very much not a racist family," William told a Sky News reporter, adding that he planned to reach out to Harry over the interview.

"I haven't spoken to him yet but I will do."

RELATED: Insiders claim Meghan 'wouldn't listen'

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with the Duchess of Cambridge during happier times in 2019. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with the Duchess of Cambridge during happier times in 2019. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

But one royal has so far maintained a conspicuous silence.

Despite standing next to her husband as he denied the Sussex's claims of racism, the Duchess of Cambridge did not utter a word, and she is yet to respond in any way.

That's also despite the fact that she was specifically called out by Meghan, who accused her sister-in-law of making her cry in the lead up to the royal wedding after a clash over flower girls' tights.

So why is the future Queen holding her tongue during one of the biggest debacles the royals have faced in modern history?

One major explanation is the royal's infamous "never complain, never explain" motto, which has been central to the Windsors' playbook for decades.

The royals are barred from making controversial, political statements and the family strives to remain neutral at all times.

Part of that strategy involves ignoring critics and defusing crises through silence rather than aggressive responses.

Meghan herself alluded to this policy during her Oprah interview, after the talk show Queen asked her whether she had been "silent, or silenced" by the family.

"I have always been outspoken - especially about women's rights - that's the sad irony of the past four years. I have advocated for so long for women to use their voice and then I was silenced," Meghan said.

"Everyone in my world was given a very clear directive from the moment the world knew Harry and I were dating to always say 'no comment'."

While the Queen has been forced to respond given how huge the fall out has become, it's not surprising the rest of the family, with the exception of William, are for now keeping quiet.

Another factor in Kate's silence is her own personality.

Much has been written about her shy, private and reserved nature, with Vogue dedicating a September 2020 article to her trademark "quiet power" and willingness to softly toe the line.

RELATED: Star's 'career-ending' Meghan meltdown

 

"Kate understands what she is expected to do," royal historian Sally Bedell Smith told the publication.

"She grasps that hers is a lifetime commitment.

"She also has a natural ability to blend accessibility and dignity with a royal mystique that shields her privacy - a tough line to navigate."

In 2017, The Daily Beast also dedicated an entire article to Kate's rumoured fear of public speaking, which helps explain why "we rarely hear what she says".

The piece cited the Duchess herself, who in 2012 told a guest at her first ever public speech that she found "giving speeches nerve-racking".

"Despite being an excellent communicator in private, she is reluctant to put herself forward for more public speaking or interviews, and the palace, wisely knowing the game they are playing is very, very long, are not pushing her to do so," reporter Tom Sykes wrote.

But finally, and perhaps most importantly, Kate's silence can be seen as a strategic PR exercise.

Polling consistently places Kate as one of the most popular royals, and public approval is crucial to the very survival of the monarchy.

As the future Queen, Kate's job is to appeal to the masses - and she's managed to pull it off by steering clear of controversies.

RELATED: Telling moment shows scale of royal war

Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey has stunned the world. Picture: CBS
Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey has stunned the world. Picture: CBS

According to British race relations commentator and broadcaster Jonathan Sacerdoti, Prince William spoke publicly the Sussex's allegations out of his dual responsibility as Harry's brother and the future king, which meant it was essential he show a measured but firm control of the situation as well as compassion and emotion.

"This wasn't just an elder brother addressing allegations made by his younger sibling, albeit through the world media, this was number two in line to the throne addressing number six," he said.

"It was firm, definitive, unambiguous."

But as William's spouse, Kate's role from a PR perspective is very different, which means she's not expected to weigh in on family dramas - and so far, it has been a game plan that has served her well.

Australian public relations expert Nicole Reaney told news.com.au Kate's silence was a public relations master stroke.

"Remaining silent will be Kate's most important position at this time," she said.

"The royal family would be following the media protocol set out by their teams, with the three sentence response a PR master stroke.

"Silence is in stark contrast to Meghan and Prince Harry's Oprah tell-all which screamed 'Hollywood'."

 

Originally published as Kate's dignified act in Meghan feud



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