Prince William and Kate Middleton are making a point with their recent string of royal engagements and public statements, an expert says. In a new interview with Closer magazine, royal biographer Duncan Larcombe, author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story, offered some expert insight into the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s behavior recently.
Specifically, he addressed what we can learn from Will and Kate’s actions and words following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired this spring, during which the Sussexes detailed their reasons for stepping back from royal duties, including the lack of support they felt from the rest of the royal family and a problematic comment about the skin color of their then-unborn son, Archie, among other things.
Although the royal family has stayed mostly silent regarding all things Harry and Meghan, Larcombe says Will and Kate have been sending a very clear response to the claims through their actions. In particular, he pointed to a statement William released personally on Twitter recently in response to racist attacks footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka faced on social media.
“I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match,” William wrote in a personal tweet signed “W” sent out via the Kensington Royal account. “It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour. It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable.”
I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match. It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour. It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable. W — The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal)
“William and Kate are definitely on the charm offensive right now—and it’s working. While William has always spoken out against racism, his statement this time was really powerful and especially relevant after Harry and Meghan’s accusation about the royal family,” Larcombe said of the tweet.
“William and Kate have kept a dignified silence but now they’re letting their actions do the talking. It’s almost as if they’re sending a secret message to Harry and Meghan saying, ‘We’re going to keep going, we’re still here, we’re not backing down, we’re carrying on.’ It’s a message to Harry that life continues—with or without him.”
Larcombe believes there’s another claim from Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview that William and Kate are actively combatting, too—the idea that William is “trapped.”
During the interview, Harry was candid about his strained relationships with several family members, and even said that his father, Prince Charles, “stopped taking [his] calls,” when he and Meghan decided to move to California. Harry suggested that many of the problems he and Meghan faced were systemic to the institution of the royal family, which is run like a business in many ways and has even been nicknamed The Firm.
While the suggestion implied that other royals may also be unhappy—at least at times—with royal life, Harry acknowledged the different position his father and brother are in, as direct heirs to the throne, saying, “My father and brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave.”
According to Larcombe, though, that’s not necessarily a sentiment that Will and Kate agree with.
“There’s no doubt the Cambridges have taken his accusation that William is ‘trapped’ in a role he doesn’t want and are determined to show that isn’t the case,” he said. “Kate is full of smiles wherever she goes—she’s sending a message back to Harry and Meghan saying, ‘We’re happy, we’re fun—we’re not trapped like you said we are.'”