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article imageOp-Ed: For England, Harry, and … Saint Media?

By Paul Wallis     Jan 17, 2020 in World
London - The public row within the Royals regarding Harry and Meghan is the tip of a very unimpressive iceberg. Harry, serial vertebrate as he is, has taken a very understandable dislike to the ever-brattish UK tabloid media.
The Royal family has an issue with that, but there’s more to it. It’s very unlikely that the real story about the Hexit/Megxit issue will ever emerge. Despite the fact that the Palace can and does occasionally give Britain’s media a kick in the teeth, the media is a natural issue. The Royal family is stuck in the middle of this messy situation.
The UK tabloid media is to journalism what haemorrhoids are to ballet. It’s not like every single member of the Royal family is exactly unaware of that fact. The problem is that while they will certainly empathize with Harry’s feelings, the job involves putting up with the dubious quality and “aesthetic hygiene” of media exposure.
In an ironic twist, News, the largest owner of media in the UK, has published an article stating that Harry and Meghan’s departure will “hurt” the Royals. This included coverage of Harry’s final official engagement, which, News dutifully reported, he did very well indeed.
THAT’S the problem. Harry isn’t just another Royal. He’s very good at being a Royal. He has an excellent personal image. When he came out to Australia after one of our catastrophic bushfire seasons, he was truly superb. He did and said everything perfectly, and he did connect with bushfire-battered communities like few people ever have. The Invictus Games were also a stunning success. He is a true asset to the Royal family because he’s so extraordinarily good at it.
Also like almost nobody else on Earth, Harry’s grudge with the media is personal in a unique way. It’s not like his older brother is any fan of theirs either. Losing their mother to a herd of hysterical idiot paparazzi wasn’t a great introduction to UK media in any form, let alone its lowest form. They have made their displeasure well known.
An opportunity?
This raises a question – Charles has gone to extreme dogged lengths to update the Royals and show they’re in touch. Diana, in her own unique way, did an excellent job in that regard. William and Harry have both done very well. Their grandmother keeps her eye in with various moves, including describing one person who was unwise enough to use the Queen’s English in a way she described acidly as “pompous”; a truly lethal put-down, in anyone’s language.
So – Given the general insufferability of UK media, and the ongoing Royal efforts to not “remain relevant”, but BE relevant:
Why not have Buckingham Palace change the ground rules for coverage? The Royals may be the only celebrities on Earth obliged to put up with this nonsense because they’re in public office. Nobody else would tolerate the sheer vulgarity of the UK media, and the UK media knows it. They also know that the Royals don’t like it, don’t have to tolerate it, and can do quite a lot about it.
Individual Royals could be more… picky, perhaps? The equation would be “nutcase coverage = no interviews, no media opportunities, etc.” (I know “nutcase coverage” is overly polite, but it’d take several thousand words of scatology to accurately describe it, otherwise.)
There’s another point here, in terms of media marketing. The old paparazzi culture is dying. It’s barely marketable. Who goes out of their way to buy a picture which everyone else already has? It’s hack media, and it’s getting very stale. It’s not like the public’s infatuated with UK media’s boorish boozers being obnoxious, either. The media has as usual shot itself in the foot in this regard, while the said foot is in its own mouth.
Put it this way – The Royal family brings in a healthy few billion per year for the UK. The UK media merely increases sales of antihistamines among people able to read. If it’s a choice, the Royals win. They’re within their rights to insist on proper respect of both their offices and their privacy.
Harry may have just found a perfectly good reason for the Royal family to put the UK’s media vermin in their place. Nobody would mind a bit.
One other thing – Sainthood is usually achieved by some form of grisly execution. Pity that’s probably not going to happen, but if the tabloids insist on that status, a lawsuit from the top of the tree could achieve much the same thing. Just a thought.
Who knows – If something is dropped on them from a sufficient height, maybe even the UK media might one day achieve some level of professionalism.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth 2, Buckingham palace, meghan markle, uk media coverage of Royal family
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