Prince Harry Made A Big Mistake With His Prince Philip Tribute, According To A Royal Expert

On April 9th, the royal family announced the death of patriarch Prince Philip with a dignified, yet heartfelt, announcement on social media (via Twitter): "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle." Several hours later, according to Town and Country, the Archewell charity founded by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, posted a considerably less heartfelt statement of their own: "In loving memory of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021. Thank you for your service...You will be greatly missed."

Thank you for your service?? That sounds like a corporation saying they "regret to announce" that so-and-so "will be leaving to pursue other opportunities" or perhaps a baseball team saying they've traded away a fading star for two minor league prospects and a locker room attendant to be named later. Was it just us that felt this way? No, we don't think so, since the media and vox populi alike seemed to feel the tribute was, as the New Zealand Herald characterized it, "Ice cold." Still baffled as to what the Sussexes could have been thinking, The List turned to Kinsey Schofield, founder of royal-watching website ToDiForDaily, for her take on it. She, too, characterizes the statement as "corporate" and acknowledges that it was "highly criticized."

Prince Harry did go on to issue a more personal statement

Evidently word filtered back to Prince Harry that speaking of your recently-deceased grandfather in terms more suited to ushering a troublesome employee out the door, is generally regarded as uncool by, like, every sentient human on the planet. By Monday, he'd walked back the pink slip and issued what Schofield describes as "a more personalized statement that was Harry's brand." The landing page of the Archewell website now has a 4-paragraph message lauding the late Duke of Edinburgh not just for his service, but also his "honour and great humour," as well as his "seriously sharp wit" and his charm. He also got a bit personal at one point, noting that the late prince was also his "grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right 'til the end."

Okay, now that's more like it. While the message still didn't come off like an outpouring of grief, Harry had an answer for that, too. "While I could go on," he said, "I know that right now [Prince Philip] would say to all of us, beer in hand, 'Oh do get on with it!'"

Other royal family members made statements of their own

In the days following the Duke of Edinburgh's death, other members of the royal family have come out with their own personal remembrances, in an order that Schofield says "appeared to be based on rank." Prince Charles' statement about how he misses his dad came out on Saturday (via Twitter), while Philip's daughter, Princess Anne, as well as his daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex (Prince Edward's wife) also expressed their sorrow over the weekend.

On Monday Prince William released his message (via Town and Country) in which he called his grandfather "an extraordinary man" with an "infectious sense of adventure as well as...[a] mischievous sense of humour!" He went on to say "I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days," (there have certainly been no shortage of the latter in recent years) and ends by saying, "I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job." Upon reading both statements side by side, Schofield's reaction was that "it is clear that the young men have different priorities and values and relationships within the royal family."

Prince Harry's original statement was poorly-timed and badly-worded

Schofield thinks the biggest faux pax the Sussexes made lay in the timing of the original Archewell statement. Buckingham Palace (and Harry's gran) aren't big fans of public emoting so they may not have objected to its minimalism, yet it came out at a bad time. On the day of Prince Philip's death, Schofield thinks the palace statement was intended to stand on its own, and the individual royals (or ex-royals) were not expected to be weighing in with their personal contributions at that time. "Press wise," she says, "everyone was quoting the Queen's statement and that alone. Hours later they were quoting the Queen's statement AND the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Archewell landing page."

What Schofield feels is, the fact that the no-longer-royal couple issued any statement, at all, at the time when the royal family's words were thought to suffice, was likely seen by Buckingham Palace as "out of order." She does not, however, feel that the Sussexes posted their message in order to position themselves as being on a similar level of importance to the queen, but rather sees the act as one of "just ignorance... a case of Harry and Meghan, yet again, jumping the gun instead of asking what the palace's plan was." We don't yet know the repercussions, but Schofield expects that Prince Philip's funeral may prove "an uncomfortable trip home for Prince Harry" although she "admire[s] his commitment to his family."