Sophie Wessex's alleged ability to put her foot in her mouth has
taken to new heights the PR industry's appalling record for inability to
take its own advice.
Admittedly, Wessex's professional area of operations is unlikely to have
brought her into contact with the likes of News of the World
investigations specialist Mazher Mahmood.
Aside from the potential for product recall, most of her accounts could
not be classified as defensive. But surely her day-to-day experience in
the Royal Family should have prepared her for the concept of the tabloid
sting, particularly one as notorious as that so frequently pulled off by
As a member of the Royal Family, there can be no such concept as an
off-the-record comment to a mere acquaintance. And such naivety is
incompatible with the role of a PR practitioner.
More to the point, if such statements were made - and there was
obviously something to apologise to Blair and Hague about - what on
earth was she doing talking about her fellow royals and the government
of the day in what was ostentensibly a new business presentation?
When Sophie Wessex broke her media silence just prior to her 1999
wedding to talk to PRWeek about her role as a working royal, she stated
categorically that the only way she could continue to run her business
was by eschewing any suggestion that she was trading on her royal
She has in the past been accused of lack of judgement regarding the
Rover debacle, but such gaffes pale into insignificance in comparison to
this shambles. And this time, crucially, she has broken the cardinal
rules that she established for her business at the time of her
At the very least, clients are hardly going to be queuing up at the
doors of R-JH for crisis management advice.