King Charles paid a subtle tribute to his youngest son Prince Harry during a landmark speech to the City of London on Wednesday night.
He and Queen Camilla were in attendance at a dinner and reception at Mansion House to recognise the work of City of London civic institutions and Livery Companies.
During his address the King urged the public to rise above the “rancour and acrimony” of online debates, with Harry and Meghan Markle advocating for the safety of children online during their World Mental Health Day summit in New York last week.
His Majesty said: “The instinct to co-operate wherever and whenever possible is deep within us. Even in the most fractious times – when disagreements are polished, paraded and asserted – there is in our land a kind of muscle-memory that it does not have to be like this.
“That the temptation to turn ourselves into a shouting or recriminatory society must be resisted, or at least heavily mitigated whenever possible, especially in the digital sphere where civilised debate too often gives way to rancour and acrimony.”
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He continued: “These instincts come together in perhaps the deepest of all our reservoirs – the one that irrigates our crucial sense of responsibility, both individual and collective – that enables us to fulfil our duties as good citizens who understand, without having to write down or formalise them, the decencies on which our institutions and our constitution depend, as well as our relationships, one to another.”
Royal commentator Angela Levin said of the subtle messaging on GB News: “There’s a bit here that is just about Harry and Meghan and, I’ll just read these lines, ‘do we pause instinctively and unerringly before speaking or acting to ensure we are affording equal weight to both sides of the balance? Our society would be a kinder and gentler place for it.’
“I think it’s quite interesting because it’s a message to Harry – ‘don’t come in and start shouting at me and demanding that years later that we still apologise to Meghan’.”
She told Patrick Christys: “I can pick up on things where there’s something written between the lines, and I think this is something that’s written between the lines, ‘be calm, don’t shout, don’t nag, don’t demand, but let’s sort of start – let’s try and keep things equal.’
“I don’t think Harry would take the slightest bit of notice of it, unfortunately.”
The King still managed to keep his speech light-hearted however, as he poked fun at his mishap with a fountain pen not long after he became monarch.
Charles joked: “The British sense of humour is world-renowned. It is not what we do. It is who we are. Our ability to laugh at ourselves is one of our great national characteristics.
“Just as well, you may say, given some of the vicissitudes I have faced with frustratingly failing fountain pens this past year!”
He was referring to an incident not long after the death of Queen Elizabeth in September 2022, when he appeared to become frustrated after his pen was leaking while he was signing the visitors’ book at Hillsborough Castle in Belfast.