Opinion: Harverson has his work cut out with Royals

When news of Prince Harry being pictured in a Nazi uniform broke, Clarence House comms director Paddy Harverson was having dinner with his old mates from Manchester United near the Chelsea football ground. He must have wished he had never left his old job working for Sir Alex Ferguson.

I have always thought that working in PR for a top football team was as hard as it gets, mainly because you have absolutely no control over the most important aspect of the job - good results. Working for the Royal family, though, has to be even worse.

If Mark Bolland, one of the best PROs in the business, couldn't last the pace then who could? Harverson has a fearsome reputation, and when working at Man U would use bully tactics with the media that would make Alastair Campbell wince. But what can Harverson do about a prince who according to Bolland, has 'a revolting circle of friends'?

To most people, Harry is seen as an obnoxious upper-class twit with the brains of a rocking-horse and poor Harverson has the task of presenting him in a sympathetic light. A few weeks ago, he did an excellent job by persuading Harry and his brother to take part in a PR stunt that saw them packing boxes for aid to the tsunami victims. It certainly worked better than Cherie Blair's similar stunt.

The problem for Harverson is that Harry doesn't have a dedicated press officer. He does though have an 'equerry', whatever that's supposed to mean. His name is Mark Dyer and the fact that he also went to public school, was a former Guards officer and once dated Tiggy Legge-Bourke, the Princes' nanny, tells you all you need to know as to why the Royal Family is totally divorced from reality and the real world.

What surprises me is that the great communicator Tony Blair hasn't done more to help the Royals. Unlike the opposition, Labour has avoided criticising the prince largely because the PM is a royalist.

The obvious solution to the Royals' PR problems is to run 'The Firm' as if it were a government department. There would be a director of comms and dedicated press officers for every Royal. Like a government department, the press office would have a morning strategy meeting that would involve looking at the diary.

What press officer would not have alarm bells ringing at the thought of the future king and his brother being invited to a 'Natives and Colonials' fancy-dress party?

And what of Harverson? Ultimately, he's as likely to stay on working for this dysfunctional family as his old boss Ferguson is to invite Arsene Wenger to his birthday party.

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