Prince Charles aide: republican media 'skew debate'

The Prince of Wales’ comms adviser has blamed an overly republican national media for ‘skewing debate’ on the merits of the Royal Family.

Paddy Harverson said the 'disproportionate' number of anti-monarchists in the media meant reporting did not reflect public opinion.

He made the comments on Tuesday at an Editorial Intelligence and PRWeek debate on 'Royal comment in the media' – also attended by the Queen's press and comms secretary Penny Russell-Smith.

All journalists on the panel – The Observer's Mary Riddell, Time magazine senior editor Catherine Mayer and The Independent columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – harboured republican sympathies.
Russell-Smith accepted that the Queen's 80th birthday had been largely well received, owing to 'lessons learned from the 90s' – when the press had been far more critical of the monarch. Since then, she said, the Royals' comms had been injected with 'fresh thinking'.

'We realised  the Queen won't necessarily attract media attention for everything she does,' she said.

She also cited greater willingness to make innovative use of palaces, such the Queen's Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace.

But Russell-Smith conceded that winning coverage for the Queen's community engagement efforts – such as visiting faith centres – remained difficult. She also said 'broadband, blogs and citizen journalism' were transforming PR practice.

The full debate is available via podcast. See links at the bottom of this story to subscribe.

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