Prince William to ditch 'never complain, never explain' UK monarchy mantra

Second in line to the British throne is seeking to reform 'The Firm'

Britain's Prince William shakes hands with a member of the public in the Bahamas, although not everyone was pleased to see him. Getty

The Duke of Cambridge plans to end the long-standing royal tradition of “never complain, never explain” as a media strategy as he looks forward to a slimmer, more open monarchy.

Prince William is said to have had a meeting with aides after a backlash from his and the Duchess of Cambridge's Caribbean tour — part of the British royal family's platinum jubilee itinerary — when he indicated his plans include a payroll of about half the staff numbers working under his father, Prince Charles.

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Ending their trip to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas at the weekend, Prince William acknowledged the monarchy's days in those nations may be numbered as he said the future “is for the people to decide upon".

His comments were cautiously welcomed by Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, who told LBC on Monday that he applauded Prince William and Kate's attempt to look to the future and defended their decision to go on the trip.

However, Mr Starmer expressed concern that some aspects of the Caribbean tour — such as the royal couple shaking hands with crowds behind a wire mesh fence in Kingston and riding in the back of a Land Rover — "harked of the past" and "didn't fit that well" with the trip's aim.

He said Prince William “could have gone further” when he expressed his deep regret over slavery but sympathised with the duke, suggesting "he may go further in the future.”

In a statement reflecting on the tour, Prince William emphasised who the Commonwealth chooses to be its leader “isn't what is on my mind”, but what concerned him was its potential to “create a better future for the people who form it".

He stressed that he and his wife Kate were “committed to service” and saw their role as supporting people, “not telling them what to do".

A number of newspaper reports on Monday carried comments from sources suggesting William had been doing a lot of thinking about how long-held protocols can be modernised when he ascends the throne.

Changes could include halving staff numbers when he becomes the Prince of Wales and ending the policy of “never complain, never explain”, the newspapers reported.

Prince William's ruminations were in part committed to Twitter, where he acknowledged the tour had put him and his wife in a reflective mood.

Media coverage of the tour has been split, with some reaction emphasising the positive effect of their presence in the Caribbean, while others described the wire fence incident as a “PR disaster".

During the tour, they faced calls for reparations for slavery and trenchant criticism for not receiving Belize's blessing for the visit.

Barbados replaced Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state in November, electing its first president during a ceremony witnessed by the Prince Charles.

Prince William and Kate on Caribbean tour – in pictures

Updated: March 28, 2022, 1:54 PM
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