Whether or not the King agonised over a potential mention of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in his historic, first Christmas broadcast, we will never know.
But in opting not to acknowledge them at all, he perhaps sent a silent message more powerful than any other.
This was a deeply personal tribute to selfless dedication and service, to multicultural Britain and those of all faiths, and none.
Included in that carefully worded tribute were all senior members of the family, shown conducting their own public duties in all four corners of the UK.
Yet only the heir to the throne and his wife were singled out for a specific mention – a gentle, reassuring nod to the future of the Royal family.
In a message heavily focused on the late Queen’s legacy, the reference to the Prince and Princess of Wales was designed to offer a sense of continuity – a reminder that the institution would always evolve.
Harry and Meghan are no longer part of that institution in any meaningful sense. While the King – and his mother before him – have long sought to insist that the couple remain much-loved members of the family, the landscape has irreversibly changed.
As the damaging, personal attacks from California continue to rain down on the Royal family, the prospect of reconciliation has ebbed ever further away.
In the second tranche of the Harry and Meghan Netflix documentary, released just a fortnight ago, the Duke of Sussex suggested that they were bullied out of public duties by Prince William and that palace aides had lied to protect other members of the Royal family at their expense.
Buckingham Palace did not react to the six-part series in any way as astute aides chose instead to rise above the fray, aware that even the mildest reaction would only serve to fan the flames.
The message was clear – the Royal family was getting on with the job in hand and had no time nor inclination to respond to this unseemly airing of dirty laundry.
The King took the same approach to his Christmas message, opting to focus on the good work not only conducted by his family but, perhaps more importantly, by the nation as a whole.
It was different in September, when the King made his first historic address to the nation just hours after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, his “darling mama”.
Then, he spoke not only as head of state but as a loving son, husband and father.
As such, he included a message of compassion towards his younger son and his wife, saying: “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”
The King of Christmas Day had a steely focus on the future.
In a clear break from tradition, he chose not to be surrounded by framed family photographs as he delivered his first Christmas message, which would likely have been heavily scrutinised, interpreted as messages of support, or otherwise, for certain relatives.
Instead, the King used video footage to highlight the work of senior, working members of the Royal family.
As O Little Town of Bethlehem was performed by the choir of St George’s Chapel, footage was shown of the King, the Queen Consort, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex conducting various public duties.
While the King sought to put his own personal stamp on the broadcast, the general format was similar to the many messages of decades past.
The late Queen traditionally summed up the year gone by, but also looked to the future and sought to deliver a message of hope.
Her final Christmas broadcast saw her deliver a heartfelt tribute to her “beloved Philip”, the Duke of Edinburgh, as she spoke of the comfort she has found in “passing the baton” of their values on to the next generations.ORDER A COPY OF ROB’S NEW BEST SELLING BOOK! Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer. Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!