The Royals’ “Never Complain, Never Explain” Mantra May Soon Be a Relic of the Past

“It is not a criticism of how it was done in the past. But times are changing.”

Prince William
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Perhaps the phrase most associated with the British Royal Family is its longstanding “never complain, never explain” policy. But, as the monarchy continually modernizes, that mantra may not have a place in the institution in the way forward, The Sun reports.

After what many deemed a disastrous Caribbean tour last month, Prince William almost immediately released an unprecedented statement about the tour, saying, in part, “Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much.”

The tour, for all its missteps, is beginning to usher in a new era that The Sun refers to as “the Cambridge way,” an example of which is the statement that succinctly addressed concerns in the media and the public at large about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s back-to-back trips to Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas.

“William and Kate will modernize how they work. It’s a breath of fresh air,” an insider told The Sun. “They were bruised by attacks that their Caribbean trip harked back to the colonial age. In the future, they will rip up the rulebook and do things ‘the Cambridge way.’ They’re trying to work out what that will look like. It is not a criticism of how it was done in the past. But times are changing.”

Sources tell the outlet that William has laid out a blueprint for his future as king, believing the monarchy must be agile to survive. This includes an end to “never complain, never explain,” as evidenced by the landmark statement at the end of the tour. After the couple returned home from the eight-day trip, William apparently called a crisis meeting with his top aides to address the forceful criticism, which left the couple “bruised,” The Sun reports.

“The prince believes that for him, the days of ‘never complain’ are over,” a source told The Daily Mail, via The Sun. “He definitely won’t be speaking out regularly, but believes if the monarchy has something to say, then it should say it.”

In addition to being more open and candid, “the Cambridge way” is set to include a much smaller staff—nearly half of Prince Charles’ staff of 137, in an attempt to be more cost-effective and less formal—and, instead of long trips like the Caribbean one undertaken last month, shorter trips, like Kate’s recent two-day visit to Denmark.

“He [William] listens to people, he really does,” a source told The Daily Mail. “[He’s] got a very clear vision for the future.” 

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.