Why Prince Harry’s Recent Election Comments Don't Break Royal Protocol

Omid Scobie
·3 mins read
Photo credit: TIME - Twitter
Photo credit: TIME - Twitter

From Harper's BAZAAR

When Prince Harry urged people in the U.S. to “reject hate speech” as the country approaches the next presidential election, it didn’t take long for commentary in the U.K. to center around concerns over supposed diplomatic rows that could follow.

After all, his appearance on the September 23 TIME 100 broadcast was the first time the Duke of Sussex had joined Duchess Meghan in her ongoing efforts to encourage more people to vote this November.

However, despite cries of royal protocol breaches (members of the British Royal Family must remain apolitical at all times), a source close to the Sussexes tells BAZAAR.com that Harry’s words around November were “not in reference to any specific political party or candidates, but is instead a call for decency in how we engage with each other, interact, and consume information—especially online.”

Speaking from their garden in California, Harry told viewers, "This election, I'm not going to be able to vote here in the U.S. But many of you may not know that I haven't been able to vote in the U.K. my entire life. As we approach this November, it's vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity.”

Meghan added, “You’re playing a critical role for our future and that of our children. Seeing our world through the lens of community is so important. Because we need to redraw the lines of how we engage with each other—both online and off. What we’re exposed to online seeps into how we engage with each other offline. It can train us to be kind, or it can train us to be cruel."

Continuing his nonpartisan commentary, Harry continued, “When the bad outweighs the good, for many—whether we realize it or not—it erodes our ability to have compassion and our ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Because when one person buys into negativity online, the effects are felt exponentially. It’s time to not only reflect, but act.”

The duke’s words shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have been following his recent commentary on the digital landscape, his article for . in August saw Harry tackle the “crisis of health, hate and trust” that exists online and challenge companies to take a stand for a more compassionate digital world. “It’s a key focus of their work,” the source continues.

As alumni of the TIME 100 list, the Sussexes were invited to share a brief pre-recorded message for last night’s ABC broadcast. "Congratulations to this year's transformative leaders and change makers,” Harry said. “You work tirelessly to create a better world, a better global community for all of us."

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