Ian Monk: Royal superstars on media alert

The wedding's over, the honeymoon has only just started but already the next round in the war of privacy for the Windsors and Middletons is under way. It will be a long battle that may define the success of the monarchy.

Ian Monk: Privacy for the Windsors and Middletons
Ian Monk: Privacy for the Windsors and Middletons

On the PR front the royal wedding, watched by two billion abroad, was a humongous PR success for Britain. The dividend will be a healthy boost for UK tourism. Many Americans were said to be pining for the pre-Boston Tea Party days, so impressed were they with cool, royal Britannia.

At home, media audiences were enormous. Even The Guardian, home of the earnestly comfortable Left, admitted a circulation lift of 100,000. This suggests that the royals and their new in-laws tapped into a deeply traditionalist strain that too rarely finds its voice in the cacophony of modern Britain.

The problem for the monarchy is that the wedding created new superstars: William, Kate, Harry and the devastatingly effervescent Pippa.

In the PR sense, royalty and superstardom are unhappy bedfellows. Diana turned heads and had her own head turned by media-driven global adoration and relentless coverage of her private life. William, understandably, is said to loathe the media.

He has been wisely counselled on how to deal with it thus far. The interview that he and Kate gave to ITN's Tom Bradby on their engagement was a triumph.

Now though, the real headaches begin. Despite a motley parade of reality stars, the newspapers have lacked an authentic poster girl to sell copies since Diana. Suddenly they have Kate and Pippa. Pictures in two Sunday tabloids last week showed the sisters in bikinis and Pippa topless in one holiday shot taken five years ago. Their publication has been referred to the PCC as intrusive.

Palace and Middleton family lawyers are on constant, aggressive media watch. The papers need their cover girls more than ever. The monarchy would like nothing more than to put the shutters up for months. It could not afford another Di - and nor could the tabloids.

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun

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