Editorial: Palace must heed its PR lessons

In the week of the Princess of Wales’s funeral, it was widely assumed that the Queen’s remark that ’lessons must be learned’ referred to the Palace’s PR policy, which Diana’s death had exposed as painfully outdated and irrelevant .

In the week of the Princess of Wales’s funeral, it was widely

assumed that the Queen’s remark that ’lessons must be learned’ referred

to the Palace’s PR policy, which Diana’s death had exposed as painfully

outdated and irrelevant .



Already there are signs that the message has sunk in. Although the

Palace vigorously denied reports this week that weekly Number 10-style

lobby briefings are to be introduced, there is a perceptible thawing in

its icy media relations protocol. Spokesmen will be allowed to be quoted

on the record more often, and aides will adopt a more proactive role in

dealing with the media.



Meanwhile in South Africa, we have seen evidence of a more open style

from the Prince of Wales (or Royal Spice as we should perhaps now call

him). Some of the stunts may have seemed a little cheesy and some of the

spin doctoring a little unsubtle, but the aim was spot on. It will take

some time to achieve the right balance of familiarity and distance but

reputations, as any PR person knows, cannot be mended overnight.



For too long there has been an assumption that any attempt to modernise

the Royal family in this regard will damage the ’mystique of majesty’

which is their most precious asset as an institution. But re-inventing

its PR strategy does not mean swapping Daimlers for bicycles or

indulging in undignified ’It’s a knockout’ style foolishness. The Royal

family’s PR mission should simply be to engage with the public with

whom, before Diana’s death, it had almost completely lost touch.



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