King Charles is Playing a “Rather Clever Long Game” When It Comes to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Historian Says

Silence is golden?

King Charles
(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to the royal family’s response to the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan, the silence is deafening—and perhaps no one’s silence is felt more so than King Charles. The king hasn’t spoken back against any of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s claims in their show, including Harry’s claim that his father said things that “just simply weren’t true” as his grandmother the Queen looked on during a family meeting at Sandringham in early 2020.

According to historian David Starkey, per The Mirror, the monarch is playing a “clever long game” with Harry and Meghan, including not mentioning at all his younger son and his wife during his first-ever Christmas Day speech this week, “just letting events take their course,” Starkey says.

“I don’t think they matter much—look at the opinion polls today,” he says about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. “I mean, a near majority of people not only say they don’t much like them, but they actually want them stripped of their titles. With every passing day, I think with every desperate attempt at taking a little molehill of grievance and trying to turn it into a vast, vast Himalayas of resentment, they become less relevant. What I think Charles is doing is actually playing a rather clever long game. He’s just letting events take their course, which I think is a very wise thing to do.”

As we enter in 2023 tomorrow, Charles’ coronation on May 6 is looming—but, in the much closer future, Harry’s memoir, Spare, will be released on January 10, with its contents almost wholly unknown to the royal family and the rest of the public.

Charles’ tactic against Harry and Meghan’s outspokenness does seem to be complete silence on the matter, including in his Christmas Day address, where he discussed his parents, Her late Majesty and Prince Philip, and mentioned the Prince and Princess of Wales (his older son, Prince William, and his wife, Catherine), but left out Harry and Meghan entirely.

To Grant Harrold—a former royal butler who worked at Charles’ Highgrove estate for seven years—that decision “made sense” and was a “sensible move,” according to The Mirror. Whether Charles will keep his silence after the release of Spare likely depends on what’s in the memoir, which we won’t have to wait very long to find out. 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.