I frequently ask clients to think about the ongoing media narrative and where they and their organisation sits within this. It is a good way to understand a variety of things such as your chances of getting a good hit with a story; what questions you may attract when appearing on the media; or where the opportunities lie in developing a higher profile.
The Royal Family has its own media narrative. Unless you are from one of a handful of other countries there is only really one Royal Family. The British Royal Family is an institution in its own right. This means its narrative is riddled with complexity and tension while it constantly moves and evolves. That evolution might have quickened in recent years but, as you would expect with a story that began before the first printing press, moves very slowly.
A new chapter of the Royal Family’s story begins on Saturday with the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. As well as a happy day for each of them it is a ceremony that means Meghan Markle will become a member of the Royal Family.
A globally popular actress Ms Markle had also previously gained a reputation as an activist, championing gender equality as a United Nations women’s advocate. There is little doubt that the opportunities are significant for Ms Markle in her new life to make a considerable difference. Her speech to a UN Women conference is wonderful, powerful and demonstrates perfectly the way stories connect with your audience.
That said, her new life and role requires a different level of discipline and diplomacy. This is perfectly illustrated by the fact that Prince Harry is staying the night before the wedding in a hotel owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Previously Markle had commented that she could never stay in a hotel owned by the Sultan due to his stance on homosexuality and abortions. This is just one example of the unfortunate side-show or sub-plot we have seen added to the central narrative. Some thought should have been applied to prevent this developing. We are told that Markle is a woman of immense principle. If this is so, then perhaps Harry should not be staying at the Cosworth Park estate the night before their wedding.
She has been a private person - all be it with a popular blog and a hit TV show - until the last few months but expressing views when a member of the Royal Family is a treacherous path to follow. She can ask her future father-in-law all about that. I hope she also takes time to seek guidance from Her Majesty The Queen who has kept her views between herself and her 13 Prime Minsters over the last 66 years.
It is natural that Markle’s opinions have been raked up in the days and weeks leading up to her wedding but it is now time to press reset. While I wish Harry and Meghan every happiness I do award Meghan Markle Mis-Communicator of the Week.
Mis-Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.
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