Five Royal PR knockouts
Since the Queen was born 90 years ago, she’s featured in every major newspaper and magazine around the world. She’s made countless TV broadcasts, and along with the rest of the Royal Family, her every move is watched and scrutinised by the media and public.
It’s not easy being Queen. PR wise, she’s been through some tough times, from the cringeworthy ‘It’s A Royal Knockout’, to her ‘annus horribilis’, and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
But you don’t sit on the throne for more than 60 years without learning from your mistakes and moving with the times.
Royal PR overhaul
With the help of the ‘Way Ahead’ group, a body of advisers and senior royals whose remit is to improve the monarchy’s image, the Queen has successfully rebuilt her brand over the years. She is now as popular as she was at the time of her Silver Jubilee in 1977.
At the heart of this turnaround was a PR strategy of transparency, relevance and value. Here are five times when Her Majesty has nailed Royal PR.
1. Promoting the younger royals to more central roles
As the Queen enters her 90s, it’s only natural that she’s starting to take more of a back seat in terms of royal duties. But she’s keeping a firm hand on the tiller, and is the driving force behind some of the PR opportunities the younger royals have been involved in. From Prince Harry racing Usain Bolt, to Kate’s first public speech and Camilla visiting the set of TV’s The Killing, the royals have made a concerted effort to show themselves to be modern, relevant and accessible.
2. The Diamond Jubilee
According to a Daily Telegraph poll conducted after the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, nine out of ten of us thought the Queen was doing a good job – the highest level of satisfaction since pollsters first asked the question in 1992. By staging several large-scale concerts at Buckingham Palace, including Madness performing ‘Our House’ on the roof, the Queen brought the party to the people, creating a celebration that was more about us than her
3. Kate and William’s wedding
We all love a good wedding, and with grandma’s support, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge played a PR blinder. From Prince William driving Kate down the Mall in his sports car, to Kate’s high street going-away outfit, the wedding showed the ‘common’ touch that’s made the Windsors appear more in tune with modern Britain.
Media organisations from across the globe descended on London to cover the wedding, with some 8,500 journalists angling for the perfect shot. Overall, the wedding is estimated to have reached some two billion people.
4. The James Bond stunt at the London 2012 Olympic Games
TV viewers around the world were stunned and delighted to see the Queen showing her playful side with James Bond actor Daniel Craig in a spoof sequence during the opening ceremony. Capturing public mood perfectly, it was possibly the greatest PR stunt she’s ever pulled off. And she didn’t even have to learn how to parachute to do it
5. Prince William on the cover of Attitude magazine
Prince William made history last month by becoming the first member of the royal family to appear on the cover of a gay magazine.
In a move that would have been unheard of ten years ago, the Prince invited Attitude magazine to bring members of the LGBT+ community to Kensington Palace to discuss their experience of bullying and the impact it can have on mental health.
This is the latest example of how the monarchy is changing with the times, highlighting causes that have previously been taboo.
During the Queen’s reign, one thing has remained constant: While younger royals have been happy to speak to interviewers ranging from Ant & Dec to Katie Couric, the Queen has largely kept mum.
This approach has served her well, as she’s maintained the magic and mystique of the monarchy. But it’s also an interesting paradox that the most famous woman in the world has never given a media interview.