Prince William should take care in ditching the ‘never complain, never explain’ royal mantra

There are better ways the royals can make their points, argues Sean O’Grady

Monday 28 March 2022 21:30
<p>The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge</p>

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince William reportedly wants to have the freedom to speak out when he wishes, to defend his behaviour and criticise his critics, or at least try to put them right. Born of frustration about some of the misunderstandings and ill-willed coverage of the Cambridges’ goodwill visit to the Caribbean, he is said to want to ditch the doctrine of “never complain, never explain”. His informal manifesto for his reign, arguably a little premature, also envisages sacking half of the support staff and making the monarchy more “reactionary and agile” (though he hopefully meant “reactive and agile”).

You can understand his annoyance. He claims that he is relaxed about the prospect of more independent states moving towards republican constitutions and ending the ceremonial link with the British monarch as their head of state – though the fact that he was visiting three territories that are openly considering the move suggests it was more defensive than neutral in approach. Aides, allies and friends also point out that the now infamous image of them greeting the kids from behind a steel fence came about because the children were so pleased to greet them, and a similar image featuring Raheem Sterling raised no hackles.

The photo opportunity with the open Jamaican Defence Force Land Rover was supposed to a charming nod to the past, a sort of retro-monarchism, but went down badly. “Tone deaf” was the consensus, which was doubly hurtful to the sensitive prince.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in