It’s interesting watching and reading some of the news and headlines around some major, and some easily avoidable, gaffs that Kate and William, the Prince and Princess of Wales, have made over the last 12-24 months. For example, their recent trip to the Caribbean ended being a PR disaster, with some poorly thought out appearances and a lack of tact where it was needed (e.g. driving around in full uniform at the back of a Land Rover, and saying hello to children through a wire security fence). In themselves, these occurrences may have seemed innocuous, or acceptable, but looked at through the lens of an increased scrutiny of the role of the British Royal family in the Caribbean nations, and in the aftermath of BLM, they proved to be misguided and badly judged decisions. Then there was the trip to the US in 2022 that was overshadowed by the Sussex’s Netflix documentary series, and the allegations it contained against the Royal family. William had an important environmental message to give on this trip, and hoped it would be a platform to voice his many concerns in this area, but other news detracted from this. Finally, there have been a series of comments from the Wales’s about, well, Wales. First William made a comment that he supported the English football team, and not the Welsh team, as well as other comments that have made clear his lack of commitment to the Principality, and this at a time when nationalist sentiments are increasing in Wales, and numbers of Welsh people are questioning the role of the monarchy. Most recently, William stated that he will not own a property in Wales, for his visits, or to spend time there, whereas his father, King Charles, when he was Price of Wales, purchased a property and renovated it using traditional Welsh building techniques for this very purpose.
All of these suggest that William and Kate are either badly advised around their PR strategy, appearances, and the messages they give out, or have a PR team around them that is frankly inexperienced or of poor quality, or that they feel they can ‘do their own thing’ without paying attention to proper advice. This lack of proper awareness of needing proper, qualified, PR support led to the new infamous Prince Andrew interview with Newsnight, when his advisors thought doing an interview about his association with Jeffery Epstein, and the allegations being made against him in that, would be ‘a good idea.’
William and Kate may well have become complacent given that, as a glamourous and respected part of the Royal family, they have mostly been very well received and adored by the UK press and public. But, it only takes a few bad headlines, or rumours in the press, to create a toxic environment that pull down even the most popular celebrities, politicians and Royals into the trough of scandal and public ignominy.
William and Kate would be well advised to review the PR advice they are getting, and to ensure that the team around them is of the right calibre and experience to deliver the support and help that they need, and to make sure they are more careful about how they position themselves and deal with issues ‘on the ground’ and in the media.