Traditionally the royals walk a fine balance at public events and when meeting celebrities and members of the public.
They try to take an interest and perhaps share a joke but, they tend to stop short of disclosing personal details.
Now footage has surfaced of Meghan Markle appearing to break that cardinal rule by perhaps oversharing in a candid exchange with Pharrell Williams in which she appeared to suggest she is struggling to cope with royal life.
The encounter happened at the premiere for the new Disney remake of The Lion King on Sunday (stealing the Wimbledon thunder from Kate Middleton) and began with Harry commenting on Pharrell’s outfit, a combination of a tux and shorts.
Pharrell then said to Harry and Meghan; “I’m so happy for your union. Love is amazing. It’s wonderful… Don’t ever take that for granted, but what it means in today’s climate, I just wanted to tell you it’s so significant for so many of us. Seriously.”
Meghan replied: “That’s so kind of you to say.”
Pharrell wasn’t done however and said: “I mean this. It’s significant. We cheer you guys on.”
Meghan reached out and touched him on the arm, saying: “Oh thank you. They don’t make it easy.”
Pharrell then appeared to say, after a whispered exchange, “So you understand the significance. It’s beautiful.”
With video of the exchange now going viral on Twitter, an online debate is raging about exactly what Meghan is referring to.
U.K. papers, never wanting to pass up any opportunity to do so, have used the exchange as an excuse to attack Meghan, with the Mirror, for example, saying she was “moaning about life in the public eye.”
In fact, Meghan said or implied nothing about being “in the public eye,” nor did Pharrell, as the clip clearly shows.
While her unguarded comment clearly shows she has struggled to adapt to her new role, it seems likely that Pharrell was praising, in her marriage to Harry, the arrival of the first biracial woman in the British royal family as symbol of tolerance, and Meghan was responding to that.
The resulting furor might, however, provide an indication to Meghan of why the royals so often conclude that, when it comes to publicly expressing opinion, discretion is better than forthright declaration.