Will Meghan and Harry’s Decision to Break Long-standing Royal Tradition Backfire?
"Never complain, never explain."
Queen Elizabeth has always lived with a "never complain, never explain" M.O. Unlike her, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle haven't been keeping quiet, choosing instead to voice their grievances with the British tabloid press and even go as far as taking legal action against publishing companies. It may be getting headlines now, but some fear that in the long run, Harry and Meghan's actions could actually backfire and instead of endearing them to the public, they could be seen as ungrateful complainers.
"There has been a long tradition in the British royal family of riding criticism out and keeping your head down and taking the long view," royal biographer Penny Junor told People. "Crises come and go, and people get criticized — often for five minutes by the media, who then move on."
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Sources close to the Sussexes say that Harry confronting the media head-on could actually backfire. It would be more helpful, the source notes, if the royals fostered a relationship with the media instead of filing lawsuits and voicing their concerns. Harry seems to have taken it upon himself to shield Meghan from the negativity, like a very noble knight in shining armor.
“He sees the pain of his wife and the attacks she faces, and he wants to try to sort it out,” the source says. “It is kind of heroic in a way, but also misguided. It would be better to build relationships with the media.”
Harry addressed the situation, saying that he knows being in the media is part of his life and Meghan's position, but when things get negative or their privacy is invaded, he feels like lines are being crossed.
"Look, part of this job and part of any job, like everybody, means putting on a brave face and turning a cheek to a lot of the stuff. But again, for me and for my wife, of course, there’s a lot of stuff that hurts — especially when the majority of it is untrue," Harry said in the new documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.
In the same documentary, Meghan explained that she couldn't have imagined that her situation would be like this. She had an idea, but she never expected to come into her marriage and motherhood under these circumstances.
“I think the grass is always greener. You have no idea. It's really hard to understand what it's like. I know what it seems like it should be, but it’s a very different thing," she said. "I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a 'stiff upper lip.' I really tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging."
Sources say that Prince William has reached out to his brother, just to make sure everything was alright and to offer up words of support.
"Watching that, it would be hard not to have compassion and want to check in and see if they're OK," the source said. "That's a very human reaction."