PRWeek Awards 2011: PR Professional of the Year

It was the global PR event of the year. From the moment Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement, the world's media were baying for more about the ultimate love story between a young woman and her Prince Charming.

PR Professional of the Year: Paddy Harverson, Comms secretary, Clarence House
PR Professional of the Year: Paddy Harverson, Comms secretary, Clarence House

Paddy Harverson certainly had his work cut out. The former Financial Times sports writer and Manchester United comms director has been comms secretary at Clarence House since 2003, but the royal wedding was the most high profile event he has orchestrated.

It was no mean feat to strike a balance between making the public feel involved in the story and guarding the royal couple's privacy and security – all while managing the reputation of the monarchy in the national and international media.


"Paddy has guided expertly the public presentation of Prince Charles and his family for years"

DJ Collins, vice-president, public policy and comms, EMEA, Google

According to Mail Online, the wedding was watched live by 24 million people on the BBC and ITV. There were 74 Facebook updates every second and the wedding was the sixth biggest web event in history. Coverage snowballed after the engagement was announced in November 2010.

Events were carefully stage-managed, from the moment Princes William and Harry greeted fans outside Clarence House the night before the wedding to the happy couple driving out of the palace in a convertible decorated with L-plates. Even the £49.99 going-away outfit worn by Kate Middleton gave the couple a down-to-earth feel. Many of these touches were the work of the couple themselves, but the positive coverage was testament to Harverson's clever media strategy.

As royal biographer Hugo Vickers told The Guardian: 'Nothing leaked – the dress, the stag and hen nights, the fact they were postponing their honeymoon. We knew nothing until they wanted us to know.'

Harverson also brought the royals up to date before the wedding with a website, Twitter and Flickr accounts, and links to the royal channel on YouTube. The site included a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace and regularly updated content including photo galleries of the couple.

The monarchy continues to reap the rewards of this year's fairytale wedding.

The Awards 2011 book will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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