Scobie: The Windsors’ ‘dignified silence’ looks weak and tone-deaf these days

Omid Scobie has a new Yahoo UK column, all about the Dignified, Silent Windsors who are maintaining their dignified silence in the wake of Prince Harry’s “attacks” in Spare. In fact, one might even say that the very thing Harry is attacking is his family’s silence in the face of a torrent of racist abuse launched at his wife. That and the fact that his family is neither dignified nor silent. Which brings it back to Scobie’s column, where he lays out exactly what’s happening behind the scenes. Hint: they’re being anything but quiet. Some highlights:

Dignified silence: But, while it may be true that Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have chosen not to answer requests for comment from journalists (including myself) about the revelations in Spare, in my experience of royal reporting the reality of the institution’s silence might not be quite what it seems. Despite the tired “never complain, never explain” facade, an assortment of Royal Family sources and friends have all been busy speaking to media outlets since the contents of the book first leaked to British newspapers ahead of its 10 January debut.

The unnamed royal sources are spilling their guts: Whilst these sources may be speaking out entirely independently, given how tight knit the Royal Family inner circle is, I doubt they would speak to the media without at least some form of tacit approval from the royals. Follow this beat long enough and the location of each quote won’t surprise you. First up was a Sunday Times article by the go-to journalist for Prince William and his inner circle. “He won’t retaliate, he never would, because he’s dignified and unbelievably loyal,” said a source, retaliating on the Prince of Wales’ behalf. “It’s cruel, cowardly and so sad for William to keep taking the punches. He’s keeping quiet for the good of his family and the country.” A friend threatened, “You could have a f***ing field day with sh-t on Harry. So could William, who is as clean as a whistle.”

The Independent got in the action too: “He has been kidnapped by a cult of psychotherapy and Meghan,” their source added. “It is impossible for him to return in these circumstances.” It’s one of the few times the left-leaning site has published anonymous royal source quotes, but perhaps the start of a new direction for the publication since former Daily Mail boss and Camilla pal Geordie Grieg took over as editor-in-chief last month.

Royalists have been blanketing British TV: The wagons are circled just as tightly on television, too, with individuals often sympathetic to the institution quick to have their say. Royal photographer Arthur Edwards – who Camilla and Charles posted birthday wishes to on social media – sat down with Piers Morgan and a former Boris Johnson girlfriend (both friends of Camilla) to discuss Harry’s “attacks” on the Queen Consort. “I really wanted to smack him one,” said Edwards. “[Camilla’s] been nothing but nice to him!” Charming.

The Windsors’ events will be overshadowed by Harry: Media coverage of engagements by King Charles and the Waleses after the book’s release largely ignored their work and instead centred around Harry’s book. And while ignoring Spare is one thing, brushing away the problematic issues of misogyny, image manipulation (and toxic relationships with the press), institutional cruelty and unconscious bias that it raises may not lead to such a positive outcome in the long term. Just like the Sussexes’ Oprah interview in 2021, today’s “dignified silence” will soon start to look like the Royal Family yet again not caring about upholding the values it supposedly promotes.

Harry has wanted accountability for a long time: And what’s a shame is that so much of this could have been avoided. As I have been reporting since as far back as summer 2020, Prince Harry has only wanted accountability from his family for some of the things that he and wife Meghan experienced during their time as working royals. That makes it well over two years King Charles has had to stop the unresolved grievances between ‘The Firm’ and his son from escalating. Instead, he chose to bury his head in the sand. Charles may have done a solid job of continuing the Queen’s busy schedule of daily duties, but his inability to convene and command his own family has left his leadership skills looking weak.

Cruel silence: It reminds me of how the Royal Family ignored Princess Diana’s cries for help after the breakdown of her marriage. That stiff upper lip in public may have briefly lived up to their brand of keeping calm and carrying on, but the long term outcome of their cruel silence still haunts them to this day. Twenty years from now I have a feeling we will be saying the same thing about Spare.

[From Yahoo]

The comparison with Diana is no longer apt though, even if I understand why Scobie is positioning it that way – Diana’s treatment and her death mean that Diana still exists as the specter at the feast, especially for Charles and Camilla. She is a pesky ghost, and one which can be ignored and appropriated, but people still remember her fondly 25 years later. But what Harry is doing is so much different – he’s alive, he’s in America, he won’t shut up, they have no leverage on him, and what he’s asking for publicly sounds quite reasonable: an apology, accountability and oversight. If you ask me, Harry is merely finishing what his mother started. As for what Scobie is saying about all of the dumb f–king leaks from the royal courts… these people have the PR instincts of dung beetles. The Windsors do not attract the best talent when it comes to communications, strategy or crisis management.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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49 Responses to “Scobie: The Windsors’ ‘dignified silence’ looks weak and tone-deaf these days”

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  1. Dana says:

    I think it’s more that the Windsors do not listen to the media consultants.

    • usavgjoe says:

      The BRF are dancing with the Devil, by the pale moon light.

    • Betsy says:

      I agree. For all that we mock them, I don’t think the Windsors are any dumber than the average person and by all accounts Charles is decently intelligent, as was TQ. They’re just seriously bricked away from normalcy and seriously entitled which leads to lots of poor decision making.

      Charles was able to follow the media consultant directions when he wanted to bring Camiller in from the cold, for example. They were all able to tighten up their public response a few days after Diana died (though it took long enough at the time). They just get stupid and locked in.

      • Emily_C says:

        The accounts of Charles vs. Charles’ actual behavior show that, as usual, the accounts are fluffing up the heir/king. His actual behavior shows Charles to be dumb as a box of hammers.

    • goofpuff says:

      I agree. The best PR consultant can only do so much if their client is not willing to listen to their expertise. That said, the nepotism hires they have probably are incompetant. If they hire only people like them, they will never get any views into the world outside of them.

  2. Noki says:

    I just wonder even if the invisible contract business model was asked to cease by the Royals they have truly shot themselves in the foot. They have too many people who I think independently go to the press(not sure if sources are paid in the UK)? . They cant be fired because it’s not only the press that have dirt on them so do these courtiers and the likes of Jason Knife. They all deserve each other.

  3. ChillinginDC says:

    I mean the one reason why Harry wrote Spare was to make sure that his family doesn’t have crap on him anymore. Also, didn’t even the Royal courtiers claim this wasn’t that bad and they knew that Harry had worse to say? Pick a lane you clowns.

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      I agree. Plus, if someone were to try to tell a Harry tale, Harry would either confirm or deny and have receipts to back it up, plus put it in context, and tell the story from his own lips. With that, he wins, no matter what.

    • equality says:

      They blew it when they leaked and exaggerated every little thing PH did. And anything left over he is outing himself on.

      • Chaine says:

        he truly is leaving no embarrassing stone unturned, i mean i understand his strategy but i am not sure we really needed to know about him p***ing his pants during the sailboat race, lol.

      • equality says:

        He had an experienced writer and editors working with him. It would be interesting to know if PH was reluctant to leave some things in and was encouraged to do so by his ghost writer.

  4. KC says:

    I think they are so entrenched in being royal and being innately superior by birth, they simply can not read the room. There’s enough outrage from the little people to support that feeling.

  5. C-Shell says:

    I have a feeling, and maybe I’m just too credulous, but Harry, in his interviews and in Spare, has bluntly stated that this is EXACTLY the RF and British media operating model — I have a feeling that people are noticing and believing. Not just Sussex stans and squaddies, but global figures with tons of followers. Omid’s prediction that CIII and that lot will regret their silence and complicity in 20 years is likely to be coming home to roost far sooner.

  6. Eurydice says:

    Everything the RF does is weak and tone-deaf. At this point, I don’t know why anyone expects anything different.

  7. Amy Bee says:

    My impression was that Omid was talking about when Diana was still part of the family not when she divorced and sadly died. But if Charles was smart at all he would take this opportunity to revamp Palace comms and change its media strategy but he’s not. He has the press on his side now so there’s no incentive for him to change it.

  8. Jais says:

    Technically, dung beetles are crucial for the ecosystem whereas these people are just the dung.

  9. Rnot says:

    I couldn’t believe he went there “said a source, retaliating on the Prince of Wales’ behalf!” Scobie has no f*cks left after he wrote his own book. Can’t wait.

  10. ThatsNotOkay says:

    Ok, William. Try it. TELL us something we don’t know about Harry. I dare you. Because Harry has receipts too. I will be eternally entertained.

  11. HeyKay says:

    I’d rather they stay quiet and keep out of the press and public all together.
    The saturation point of all this one side vs. another as hit maximum level.
    The BRF is in dire shape and they should stay quiet. Their really is no defense they can mount, they just make everything worse.

    C, W, K should be invisible and call off their BS planting stories.
    Have a very short, toned down coronation.
    Behind the scenes I bet their PR Team is sweating blood trying to figure the next move.
    Yeah, good luck with all that.

    Dear Scotland, Ireland, Wales lead the break from UK rule.
    Get your Govt. ready to lead your own countries. I’ve got Irish relatives who are more than ready to tell KCIII where to go.

    • PunkPrincessPhD says:


      Not to be pedantic, but Ireland has already led the way for independence from the UK and Commonwealth – 100 years ago. *Northern* Ireland is distinct and complex, and has a very different needle to thread in this regard compared to Scotland or Wales.

      • Renae says:

        Most of my in-laws live in N. Ireland and I cannot understand their thinking. I just don’t understand it at all.

    • Jais says:

      But how do they keep out of the public all together? Never leave their house and just order Uber eats all day? Yeah no that’s silly. As is saying they should stay quiet. If they want to be quiet, they will. If they don’t, they won’t. Listen or don’t.

  12. Lady Digby says:

    I am boiling mad that TV commentators especially BBC keep stating RF are unable to respond due to their never explain, never complain stance! Who are these royal sources/ insiders if not RF approved spin doctors? Obviously BBC is frightened of RF and wanting to appease them.

  13. Becks1 says:

    YES OMID! Say it! The sources are all speaking on behalf of the royals.

    The best thing the BRF Could have done post Spare is to have issued one joint statement and then called off their “sources/insiders/people close to” etc and just gone radio silent. Let the RRs and morning shows talk but don’t authorize ANYONE to speak on your behalf. Prove Harry wrong. (I mean what he said about sources etc has been true for years, but at this point when people are paying attention – change it up so people can say “see Harry was lying!!!!!”

    Instead, the royal sources and insiders and whatever else they’re called are out in force and it just makes the BRF look so stupid and petty and inept.

    • Nancy says:

      I know that sounds logical @becks1, but the issue the RF has is that the tabloids hold so much leverage over them due the the stories they have killed as part of the pact. So if palace comes clean, breaks the partnership and insists everything be above board–the press will slaughter them for the break-up. This is a very tough spot they’ve found themselves in for sure. It sure looks like Charles wants to stop the bleeding, but the question is how he does that without retaliation. Its all so delicious.

      • Jais says:

        If Charles’ wants to stop the bleeding, he should probably first speak to his queen consort Camilla. Does he turn a blind eye to her press games or is it tacit approval? What am I talking about? Charles plays those games too and not just camilla. But yes it is delicious and scobie is smart to write about this as so few are doing.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Nancy no you’re exactly right. This is part of what Harry meant when he said they were trapped. If the RRs can’t write about their palace sources etc, then they’ll eventually write about everything ELSE they know, and like Harry said they know a shit ton, so the BRF has to keep the RRs and tabloids etc happy, so they’re stuck in this vicious cycle and can’t really get out.

        But, they should have tried it for at least one week, maybe two. Just to let the dust settle around this book lol. But they could not even do that.

  14. Kphlyfiremama says:

    Oh, there is absolutely nothing “dignified” about their “silence”. LOL

  15. truthSF says:

    A friend threatened, “You could have a f***ing field day with sh-t on Harry. So could William, who is as clean as a whistle.”

    I know I didn’t just read this bullsh!t, I just know I’m hallucinating!!!!😂😂😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣

    • QuiteContrary says:

      As I said before, William’s whistle has been wandering, so yes, please do try to talk sh*t about Harry.

    • AnneL says:

      Harry told a lot of things about himself that would be fodder for gossip. His drug use, communing with the fox while stoned, panic attacks and agoraphobia, getting frostbite on his tallywhacker. I think a lot of that was just so that no one else could “out” him on it.

      I mean, dozens of books had already been written about him, without his permission or cooperation, before he wrote his own memoir. . Does anyone think Harry is afraid of what they’ll say about him? He’s matured and is at peace with himself, for the most part. Let them talk.

      Will on the other hand has secrets that have not been spilled. And he cares about whether they see the light of day.

  16. Elon's Sink says:

    The more I read about this tone-deaf, racist dynasty, both in #Spare and in the media, the more they come across as an incestuous offspring of the Trumps and the Kardashians.

    • Emily_C says:

      Royalty is much, much worse. Trump would love to be able to get up to what monarchs used to be able to (and in certain places still do.) All the millions dead.

  17. Nic919 says:

    Their silence on the Clarkson article was the worst. It’s one thing to not directly comment about the book, but what Clarkson wrote was despicable. And the silence only confirmed what Harry described as their failure to help Meghan over and over again when lines were crossed by the media in ways not done before.

  18. Emily_C says:

    Imo, the real story here is how Camilla is buddies with all these editors and tabloid journalists. But the BRF has no real power, huh?

  19. QuiteContrary says:

    So Camilla’s pal really “wanted to smack (Harry) one,” eh? William’s done it already, dude — so take your toxic masculinity and shove it.

  20. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    The royal family’s tacit approval of the racist attacks on Harry’s family is very damning in the eyes of the younger generations. It seems like Charles and William are doubling down on keeping the support of their “base” (older, white, conservative, traditional) at the expense of how the family will be viewed by the next generations. Maybe Charles doesn’t care because he will be dead by then? But I think Pres. Biden was correct when he said, “We have to speak out every time [bigotry] rears its ugly head, a lesson I learnt early on, regardless of where it is, regardless of when. Indifference is silence and silence is consent.” (Biden was talking about anti-Semitism, but it’s equally applicable to all discrimination). The royal family need to speak out and stop consenting to racist attacks, otherwise I can only conclude that they ARE racists as well.

    • Lucky Charm says:

      They don’t seem to realize that once their “base” has died off in the next 20 years, then what do they have left? I’m 100% sure a 60 year old King William isn’t going to be any different than a 40 year old Prince William.