MEDIA: Palace learns private sector lesson

The expected appointment later this year of an internal candidate as director of comms at Buckingham Palace marks the end of a successful experiment at infusing the ageing institution with the principles of private sector communications.

With the exception of certain blips - Sophiegate say, or the recent Charles letters - the tenures of Centrica's Simon Lewis and BA's Simon Walker in the monarchy's top PR job have seen Royal popularity become ever more firmly entrenched.

Compare the current ability of the Palace to communicate with that of five years ago and the difference is plain. Responsiveness, forward planning, and above all a commitment to openness and transparency have long signified best practice in corporate life, but are a recent innovation in Royal PR.

It would be discourteous to those who served before to say that the improvement in Royal reputations can be charted against the input of private sector PR nous. Indeed, the latest news should not be seen as Palace backtracking, just as confirmation that the arguments of those such as Walker and Lewis - urging frankness and honesty in place of a closed door - have now been won.

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