In what we can only hope is an effort to keep us all occupied before the third season of The Crown rolls out, there’s been no shortage of tabloids doing their best to spread rumors of a massive rift between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, drawing on an array of mysterious “sources” happy to speculate on why there may be a deeper reason behind Markle and Prince Harry’s move out of the home shared jointly with Middleton and Prince William, other than the fact that they’re newlywed adults.
Seeing as the royals don’t share too much about their private lives themselves, it’s not so surprising that these potential fabrications have been flying off the newsstands—to the point that Kensington Palace has taken to occasionally weighing in on the nonsense. Alas, curt dismissals like “This never happened“—a palace spokesman’s response to the rumors of pre-wedding disputes between the duchesses, including one about Princess Charlotte’s dress that reportedly left Middleton “in tears”—may be on-brand, but they only go so far; according to more reports (in the slightly more believable realm), they haven’t prevented the need for palace staff to spend several hours a week deleting all of the vitriol directed toward Markle and Middleton that’s been clogging up the comments sections on its Twitter and Instagram accounts.
So, on Monday, Kensington Palace announced that it’s taking a different tack. United as one with Clarence House, the royal family has now instituted a series of “community guidelines,” which aim to “help create a safe environment on all social media channels run by The Royal Family, Clarence House and Kensington Palace.” (They’re looking at you, warring factions of Meghan vs. Kate.)
As for the guidelines themselves, there’s no specific mention of either duchess, or even any particular royal at all; instead, there are the usual rules against spam, promotion, defamation, obscenity, violence, and sexually explicit material. (There’s an undeniably British air; the final one reads, simply, “Commenters must not be off-topic, irrelevant or unintelligible.”) In short, they’re essentially the same guidelines already in place on the platforms in question. (Even if, unfortunately, in this context, the mandate against racial discrimination is particularly relevant; racist attacks against Markle have been so common that several have even come from the royals themselves.)
As for why the palace bothered with them in the first place, they seem to be more symbolic than anything—a friendly reminder to those passionately airing their grievances with Markle, Middleton, or any of the rest, that they aren’t simply shouting into the void. They’re sounding off to the British monarchy, which remains ready to defend the royals—no matter the cost. Those who neglect to scroll to the end of the page may do so at their own risk; the final item listed under “breach of guidelines” reads, “We also reserve the right to send any comments we deem appropriate to law enforcement authorities for investigation as we feel necessary or is required by law.”