Let’s not beat about the bush here. I’m not a fan of the Royal family. But, and I want to make this perfectly clear, that this is a digital blog and not a political blog. And bearing that in mind, I’m going to write something objectively that will actually be of use to them. The royals really need to learn about how to react should a potentially negative story break…
Regardless of whatever I think of the royal family, I fully admit and accept that there is a massive public interest in who they are and what they do. They sell papers and assorted tat however I disagree with them being good for tourists, but there is a genuine interest in them. Fortunately for the general public, there’s a media who are more than happy to give the public their fix of an old racist, a man who resembles a horse and his new wife, or the son of James Hewitt. In general, there is a happy coexistence between the media and royal institutions, but over the past month, two incidents have soured this relationship, namely photos of Harry appearing naked at a pool party, and some topless photos of the prole girl who will one day be queen. To be fair to the British media, they chose not to publish the pictures (The Scum aside), instead coming across as bloody hypocrites by continuing to print page 3 etc etc. Despite expressing disgust at the photos of Harry appearing in print, there’s very little that they Saxe-Coburg’s could actually do as Harry was probably fully aware that he was on film and was more than happy to act up for the crowd. But I do have a bit of sympathy for Kate. To an extent. She was shot on a very long lens camera from a considerable distance, which is arguably a huge invasion of privacy. But they problem that the Royals have, and they still struggle to get, is that because there is so much interest in them in general, they almost lose the right to privacy. I’m not saying that this is right or fair, but they almost have to live their lives under the assumption that their lives will be always be on camera. So, if Kate doesn’t want to appear topless in the papers, she’s going to have to remain covered up outside the privacy of her bedroom or bathroom.
But what can the Royals learn about the digital world?
First things first, have you seen either the picture of Harry in the buff or Kate in the nip? Highly likely. In a pre-internet social media world, you wouldn’t have done thanks to the media blackout, but thanks to the internet, you can see the photos on any international website. They are there and thanks to the fantastically easy to use search functions on Google and Bing, finding those holiday snaps just got so much easier! The problem that the Royals have is that by threatening to sue media organisations who have published the photos left right and centre, they keep the context of the story in the forefront of the public interest, with the naughty photos, hidden out of sight. By having virtually rolling news on the story, the public are kept hanging on tenterhooks, wondering what the photos could possibly look like. Ultimately, the Royals have just got to accept that once they are out there, the photos are everywhere and you are not going to win by threatening to sue everyone. Instead, keep it simple. Issue an apology and criticise the press for intrusion of privacy, but kill the story. Let it die. Otherwise the more you try to ban or prevent people from seeing something, the more people will want to see it. I think that this clip from Father Ted best illustrates my point:
In conclusion: The Royals, if they are just normal people, as they’d like us to think they are, need to stop being so stuck up and faux moralistic. They need to embrace new technologies and retain a sense of humour. If anything negative comes out, laugh it off but make sure you are critical of the press. The people will eventually get sick of the press. Don’t try to sue everyone left, right and centre or enforce a ban as all you’ll do is fuel the interest of the majority. Once something is out there it’s out there. If you can retain your cool and sense of humour, people will actually respect you more as you’ll be seen as behaving like a normal person.