I watched with interest today the storm that blew up around the announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to take a step back from their Royal Duties. This couple have intrigued me from the first time we saw the wedding that took place in Windsor Castle, which had a preacher, famous sportsmen and women, and actors and actresses rubbing shoulders with royalty. As predicted the knives came out – here was a Royal couple daring to be different. And of course, it was driven by Meghan because she is the new addition to the family, and the reason Harry is seemingly going along with it.
And how very dare they. How very dare she.
Throughout their relationship, the media circus has exploited every angle they could and can. Of course there are many supporters of the couple in the media, but the stories I have seen in some of the wider read national newspapers include Comparisons of Royals past – Mrs Simpson (the other American and Divorcee). Pitting them against their own family – talk of fights between the Duchesses, the Brothers, the staff, the diva demands. Critiquing them for leveraging their relationships, and their honesty around mental health. It is hypercritical really because families bicker, people struggle, change happens. All normal things really until you live under a microscope.
The media has whipped up a storm that could put the fires of Australia out around their significant life events, their marriage, the announcement of their first child. And all the meanwhile crossing privacy boundaries.
Because they are Royalty and that is how it must be done.
Now people have also said to me, well that’s what happens when you become Royalty. So why are we accepting that is how it should always be? Why shouldn’t we challenge the status quo?
The relationship Prince Harry has had with the media, is deeply tarnished from the trauma of losing his mother in a high-speed chase with journalists. It seems the world has forgotten this tragic event.
We will never know the truth of the matter or who is driving these decisions; one could speculate the Queen was in on it, I mean their picture wasn’t sat on her desk during her Christmas speech; but some of the newspapers are positioning her as being most displeased – I mean seriously how the F**k do you know?
You must ask yourself is it any wonder he and his wife want to do things differently?
All they have essentially done is take their power back. And love is the most powerful force on earth… this is an act of love. For each other and for themselves. You cannot critique them for that.
They have published a statement on their website about how they want their relationship with the media to move forwards, and I cannot agree with it more. Here are a couple who understand the power the media has when used for good. So they actually want to work with and collaborate with media who they trust – grassroots and trusted advisers who are not looking for gossip, but who wish to post quality content.
They have even stepped out of the Royalty Rota – which is the select group of Royal correspondents who are fed stories agreed and vetted by the Royal Family – and yet there have been media circuses around many of the Royal family over the years so you could argue it hasn’t done the job it set out to do, and it has lost its place in modern society.
I want to also be clear; this is not me jumping on the bandwagon by any means.
I am looking at this from the perspective of a new way of working with the media.
I predict that we will see more boundary setting with the press, people will be wanting to share the truth and nothing but the truth (which by the way can be boring for some), I mean why would you want to read about something positive or life changing in the media – it is after all the dirt and gossip that sells isn’t it?
If more businesses and people in the public eye took a position like the Sussexes it could make for an interesting shift in the type of content the media may publish.
The old tactic of hiding from the press is no longer an option, looking them straight in the eye, speaking your truth and being clear on your boundaries is the new way of doing your publicity.
And how can you as a business owner adopt this approach?
Through gaining clarity – on your story, and acknowledging and squaring away your blocks and fears, and through deep connection and partnership with press.
Sharing our stories safely – not our dirty laundry – in an authentic, humane, soul-led, and sensitive way is the way we can start to make these small changes.
If you stay in truth, you cannot lose.