Prince William & Kate Middleton Are Reportedly in a PR Battle With King Charles III

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It’s no secret that the royal family is in shambles right now. By taking one glance at social media last week, the #WhereIsKate hashtag dominated the feeds, and people who never pay attention to royal news were chiming in with their opinions. This PR debacle could have been avoided if the two warring palaces — King Charles III’s Buckingham Palace and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Kensington Palace — agreed on their communication style.

For decades, Queen Elizabeth II ruled by the mantra, “Never complain, never explain,” and that’s the style the Prince and Princess of Wales have adopted since her passing in 2022. They didn’t address their feud with Prince Harry after his jaw-dropping allegations in his memoir, Spare, and they kept things rather vague with Kate’s recent medical leave. Charles, on the other hand, has decided to rule with more transparency, talking about his enlarged prostate and his cancer diagnosis, even though the specifics remain private.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: King Charles III delivers his address to the nation and the Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8th September in Balmoral, on September 9, 2022 in London, England. (Photo Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 09: King Charles III delivers his address to the nation and the Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8th September in Balmoral, on September 9, 2022 in London, England.

The problem is that these two communication approaches oppose each other and make for a mess of headlines like we saw last week. There has to be a happy medium where everyone is on the same page — and Charles and Kate’s request for privacy is still honored. “They need to be aligned in their approach,” a former palace aide told The Telegraph. “At the moment, one palace never explains, the other is always explaining.” With the Wales’ explaining very little, it has allowed for the internet rumors to take on a life of its own.

It’s at the point of a PR disaster and has become what the outlet described as a “true challenge for the monarchy.” Kate’s pals are exasperated by the calls for her to appear in public after false narratives about her being in a coma circulated. “Why should she? Truly, I don’t get it,” the source said. “In what other circumstance would a woman take sick leave after a major operation, and instead of being allowed to recover she’s supposed to pose for pictures?” It seems absurd that the public would need a “proof of life” snapshot while Kate is recovering from a serious abdominal surgery, but perhaps a thank-you statement from the Princess of Wales would quiet the crowd.

The king wants to make sure that his followers understand that he’s still visible while he’s undergoing treatment. “It’s important that not only do we say he’s performing those duties, but he’s seen to be performing those duties,” a member of his staff noted. That’s why the public continues to see behind-the-scenes photographs and videos of his work routine. Yet the messaging is still convoluted when the two palaces seem miles apart on how to handle dueling crises — and it’s not helping the optics of how a modernized royal family doesn’t seem to have a place after Queen Elizabeth’s passing.

Before you go, click here to see the 100 best photos of the royal family from the past 20 years.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

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