You know the cuppa’s piping hot when Prince Harry’s shaded by the palace over an election video. On September 22, the Duke of Sussex, 36, made his first joint television appearance since stepping down from his role as a senior member of the royal family with his wife Meghan, 39, in March. The pair recorded a clip for TIME Magazine’s TIME100 special, which aired on ABC, where they spoke about the importance of voting in this year’s upcoming election.
Ever since Meghan and Harry’s move to the U.S. following their royal exit, the pair have become increasingly vocal when it comes to national movements and politics. In June, after the death of George Floyd, Meghan spoke out against police brutality during a virtual high school graduation speech for her alma mater. In the months since, with the U.S. ramping up for election season, Meghan and Harry have turned their focus to the issue of voter registration. “Now we’re just six weeks out from election day, and today is National Voter Registration Day,” Meghan said during the TIME100 special. “Every four years, we are told the same thing: that this is the most important election of our lifetime. But this one is.”
Harry, to his part, admitted that voting means something a little different to him considering that he has never voted in the past. “This election, I’m not going to be able to vote here in the U.S,” he said, referencing the fact that he is ineligible to vote because he is not a U.S. citizen. “But many of you may not know that I haven’t been able to vote in the U.K. my entire life,” he added. As a member of the monarchy, Prince Harry—along with other members of the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth herself—are not permitted to vote or share their political views with the public. But it looks like Harry’s circumventing that latter rule these days.
“As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity,” he said during the special. While neither Harry nor Meghan expliticly stated their support for either candidate in the upcoming election, it’s pretty clear that a political statement is being made, nonetheless. So, how does the palace feel about that?
When The Times reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment, they first offered “no comment,” according to royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah. It seems we can all agree that a comment of “no comment” is still making a comment of its own, no? In a tweet posted on September 23, Nikkah writes that the Palace added, “The Duke is not a working member of the Royal Family and any comments he makes are made in a personal capacity.” Translation: We don’t know him!
OK, OK. Truth be told, it’s actually no longer Buckingham Palace policy to comment on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s matters. As per their royal exit agreement, as of March 31, 2020, “no other Royal communications act on behalf of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, including Palace spokespeople, Household representatives, nor Royal sources.” The palace’s memo adds, “Going forward, Buckingham Palace will no longer comment/guide on Sussex related enquiries.” So, we can probably expect a lot more “no comment” comments from them in the future—shade or no shade!