Special Tributes Hidden In Famous Royal Announcements

The British royal family is one of the most powerful families in the world. Their words and actions have a global reach, and since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have spoken out about some of their experiences within the institution, pop culture has been more tuned into the royals than ever, with royal fans watching every detail. "The fascination, the magic, the continuity, the stability that comes from a monarchy with a dynasty that has been playing this role for centuries, a lot of people find comfort in that," Mauro Guillén, an international management professor at Wharton who's analyzed data about monarchies, told The New York Times.

When it comes to big moments, the royals set the tone with public addresses and announcements. You can expect to hear from the monarchs around holidays, royal births, and large global events with well-polished statements. But some of the most meaningful aspects of those announcements aren't immediately obvious. In fact, many times, meaningful tributes are hidden within their statements.

Fashion choices, careful wording, and the objects in the room can all be used as a subtle way for the family to show their true feelings to those paying extra close attention. Using these methods, members of the royal family have given hidden tributes to Princess Diana, the Queen Mother, and even the British public.

During her Platinum Jubilee, the queen subtly demonstrated her plans to continue as monarch

During her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II was known for her subtle ways of communicating. She utilized silent signals to communicate with her staff, such as switching her handbag from one arm to the other when she wanted them to get her out of a conversation. So, it should be no surprise that she also left messages in her Platinum Jubilee portrait.

To mark her 70 years as monarch, the queen hosted a reception at Sandringham House, where she commissioned a portrait to commemorate the occasion. In the portrait, Her Majesty is all smiles, sitting in an armchair and wearing a lime green dress by Angela Kelly (via My London). But, there may be more to the photo than meets the eye.

Upon the release of the portrait, former royal butler Grant Harrold took to TikTok to explain what the queen was communicating in the historic photo. One item that may have been overlooked by many was the red briefcase open on the table in front of the queen. "People keep asking me, 'Do I think the queen is going to continue with her work?'" Harrold said. "Well, in this photograph, you see one of her official government boxes, and of course, this is the queen doing her day-to-day work." The open box could have been Elizabeth's way of assuring people that she planned to continue her work as monarch.

Charles' first speech as king was laden with tributes to the late queen

After the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III gave his first speech as monarch on September 9, 2022. According to The Sun, he spoke from the Blue Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace. During his heartfelt speech, the king said, "Throughout her life, Her Majesty The Queen – my beloved Mother – was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother."

Speaking of the late queen's legacy, he added, "As every member of my family can testify, she combined these qualities with warmth, humor, and an unerring ability always to see the best in people." Charles went on to pledge he'd show the same dedication as his mother did, taking up the role of monarch. "To my darling Mama," he said as he was ending his speech, "as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May 'flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.'"

Along with what he said about the queen, there were a few nods to his late mother on the table in front of him. Most obviously, a framed photograph of her sat to the side. But, as a more subtle tribute, the table's flower arrangement was made of sweet peas mixed with rosemary, a symbol of remembrance. The flowers were held in a vase that once belonged to the queen and featured three corgis at its base.

The queen's statement on Meghan and Harry seemed to contain a hidden loophole

In response to Meghan and Harry's decision to step back from royal duties, Queen Elizabeth II released an official statement offering her support. Though she did say it wasn't what she wanted, she seemed to respect their choice. "My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family," she said (via PureWow).

By way of her statement, Elizabeth granted Meghan and Harry permission to travel between Canada and the U.K. However, PureWow pointed out that there may have been a hidden meaning in her message. Though the Queen did grant that allowance, it was unclear for how long that arrangement would continue. She said, "It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the U.K." This may have been the queen's subtle way of communicating that this wasn't a long-term solution and that, at some point, Meghan and Harry would have to choose between living in the U.K. or North America.

Queen Elizabeth II may have been honoring herself in one speech

On April 5, 2020, Queen Elizabeth II gave a special broadcast regarding the coronavirus. During her speech, the monarch thanked the NHS frontline workers for their tireless work. She also thanked all the citizens who were staying home to slow the spread of the virus. "Together, we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it," she said.

Although she acknowledged the many challenges and tragedies being faced as a result of the pandemic, the queen's overall message remained optimistic and focused on the nation's ability to pull through together. The speech was widely well-received. Royal commentator Angela Mollard was one of many who appreciated Elizabeth's words, and she found one line especially poignant. In an episode of "The Royal Family Podcast with Emily Hatfield" (via Express), Mollard said, "My favorite line from the Queen's speech was the line about the attributes of self-discipline and quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow feeling still characterize this country. ... I love those words, fellow feeling, it is basically a sense of taking care of others around you."

However, Mollard also believes the line may have had a double meaning as the attributes the queen used to describe the nation could also be used to describe herself. "Self-discipline, quiet good-humored resolve, and fellow feeling is really what has characterized her very long reign," Mollard explained.

King Charles III relayed a subtle message about Camilla in his first speech as monarch

In the first speech King Charles III delivered as monarch, he understandably put a lot of time into speaking about his late mother. But, within his nine-and-a-half-minute speech, he set aside a few lines for his wife, Camilla, Queen Consort. The king said, "I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla. In recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, she becomes my Queen Consort. I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much."

As News.com pointed out, Charles' wording was carefully crafted. His specific mention of their 17 years of marriage shows how long they've been together — and it distances Camilla and himself from past scandals. For many years, Camilla was disliked by the public. She was seen as the other woman, partially responsible for ruining Charles and Princess Diana's marriage.

Speaking about the situation to BBC at the time, Diana famously said, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." The scandal and divorce turned the public on Camila and Charles. At the time, no one expected Camilla to be Queen Consort one day. Charles mentioning the years they've been married was his subtle way of reminding the public how much things have changed since then. 

The queen paid tribute to her family during her Christmas 2020 speech

During her annual Christmas speech in 2020, Queen Elizabeth II paid tribute to her husband, her people, and her mother. Looking back on the difficult year, she said, "In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit. To our young people in particular, I say thank you for the part you have played."

The monarch shared her encouraging words while sitting beside a photo of her husband. And as a tribute to her mother, she wore a brooch that once belonged to her. The pearl and diamond-studded brooch is quickly recognizable due to its unique shell shape. According to Hello! magazine, the pin was originally gifted to Elizabeth's mother by writer Winifred Hope Thomson, who left the brooch to the Queen Mother in her will as a special sign of respect. The Queen Mother often wore the brooch and left the treasured item to her daughter.

Elizabeth wore the piece on a few occasions as a quiet tribute to her mother. Along with wearing it for the Christmas broadcast, she also donned the pin during Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall's 2011 wedding and when unveiling a statue of her mother in 2009. It's clear the brooch held special significance for both the queen and her mother.

Following Diana's death, the queen spoke of lessons learned from the late princess

Following the tragic death of Princess Diana, many mourners turned their anger to the monarchy. Some citizens were disappointed by the lack of royal response in the days following her death. And so, the first time Queen Elizabeth II spoke about Diana's passing was during a heavily scrutinized broadcast. As part of her tribute to Diana, the queen said, "I for one believe that there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death." What she said about taking lessons from Diana could be interpreted generally as the inspiration the princess had been to many, but it also shows what a turning point Diana's death was for the royal family. As the queen noted, "No-one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her."

Seeing the public's anger, the royals worked to revamp their image into a more positive and human one. Patrick Jephson, Diana's former private secretary, told NDTV that the royal family invested in PR professionals, particularly for the queen and then-Prince Charles' public image. In regards to Charles Jephson said, "He has spent an enormous amount of money hiring very sophisticated, professional, political-style spin doctors to manage his image." Speaking about how the royal family has adapted, public relations expert Mark Borkowski said, "They want to be a more approachable, less aloof family... Not these upper-class aristocrats who don't understand the people. I think the monarchy ... has certainly learnt lessons throughout the time."

Prince Harry and Meghan honored Diana with Archie's birth announcement

In May 2019, the royal family was delighted to announce that Meghan Markle had welcomed a son, Archie. The birth was announced on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's official Instagram page with a statement reading, "Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their firstborn child in the early morning on May 6th, 2019. ... The Duchess and baby are both healthy and well, and the couple thank members of the public for their shared excitement and support during this very special time in their lives."

Later that same day, the royal family also released an official statement, in which they wrote, "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Earl Spencer have been informed and are delighted with the news."

As E! News pointed out, this announcement included a special nod to the members of the royal family that had been informed of the baby's arrival before the public. Included at the end of the list are Diana's two sisters and brother. Their inclusion showed Meghan and Harry's small tribute to Diana in their birth announcement by valuing her family members as much as the more immediate royal family.