Harry and Meghan should practise what they preach on environment, say PR pros

PR professionals have criticised Prince Harry and Meghan's handling of the media after they were accused of hypocrisy for using a private jet on multiple occasions.

Meghan and Harry have come under fire for their use of private jets (©Max Mumby/Indigo/GettyImages)
Meghan and Harry have come under fire for their use of private jets (©Max Mumby/Indigo/GettyImages)

Harry and Meghan have both been outspoken on environmental issues and last month revealed they were only going to have two children to help protect the planet.

However, news that the couple took four flights in a 11 days on a private jet earlier this month left them open to charges of hypocrisy. Elton John publicly defended Harry and Meghan, saying use of his private jet was necessary to "maintain a high level of much-needed protection".

It follows a number of recent decisions that have seen the Royal couple face a backlash in the media.

The pair were criticised for their decision to Christen first-born child Archie Harrison behind closed doors last month, which followed news that British taxpayers will stump up £2.4m for the renovation of their Windsor home, Frogmore.

Head of brand at Porter Novelli, Lucy Swan, said the couple can’t harness the power of the media only when it suits them.

"Their's is a modern day fairy tale that, ultimately, sells papers. But, as it stands, they aren’t playing the media game and winning."

Swan said the fact the couple are publicly funded gives both the public and the media a sense of ownership over them.

She added: "Ultimately, if they change strategy and give the press controlled access at key moments in time, they will turn the media mood whilst still maintaining some of the privacy they want for themselves and their young baby."

Chris Gilmour, director at Beattie Communications, is less forgiving. Although he agreed the public’s sense of ownership is huge, that is the difference between being an actor and a Royal.

Gilmour said: "They seem to be doing a lot of preaching and leaving the practising to the little people.

"Instead of being admired for their activism, they’re now viewed as pious moralisers who want to feel good about themselves." He added: "It’s so bad that you almost start to believe that someone is deliberately sabotaging their image to deflect away from what's going on with Uncle Andy…"

The nature of Prince Andrew’s relationship with financier Jeffrey Epstein has been under srutiny again after the 66-year-old Epstein was arrested on multiple sex trafficking charges. Epstein, who died this month in an apparent suicide in a New York jail, was accused of abusing underage girls and making some available for several of his rich and powerful friends.

Lawyers for some of Epstein's alleged victims have asked Prince Andrew to reveal all he knows.

PR executive John Dawson also fuelled speculation of a media cover-up on Twitter:


"While it’s hard to stomach the unjustified media attacks on Meghan, it’s baffling for the couple to be so vocal about climate change and then allow themselves to be shown up by a 16-year-old who is currently sailing across the Atlantic Ocean for the same cause," said The Romans director Lucy McGettigan.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg is currently sailing across the Atlantic on a zero-emissions sailboat on her way to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September in New York. She set off from the UK earlier this month.

McGettigan added: "Do they need more security than the average couple? Absolutely. But the public are not going to be convinced by the practice of ‘paid offsetting’. We simply don’t want to hear that the Royal Family’s carbon footprint is less of an issue than ours.

"To avoid having Elton John as a misguided spokesperson, next time they might want to consider a staycation."

Others agreed with the Royal couple's handling of the situation, however.

CEO of Spotlight Comms, Nina Gardiner, tweeted:

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