Prince Andrew, then. When he attended what he might call a “no-fuss” memorial service for his late father, he somehow managed to steal the show, and in the worst possible way.
Depending on which version of the palatial spin you believe, the Duke of York played such a prominent role in the proceedings for one or more of at least three reasons.
At first the idea was that he lives nearby, so the easiest thing for him to do was ride in the limousine with his mother and help her out.
So a matter of convenience was an early line from Buckingham Palace.
Second, and not inconsistent with the first, Britain queen elizabeth loves Andrew, who is routinely referred to as her favorite, very much and wants to give a very strong signal that his rehabilitation is underway now that the ugly court business is over and done with.
Third, and again not inconsistent, is that Prince Charles and Prince William didn’t mind him showing up and all that, but then the old fart purposely barged past the various posh people in the abbey and practically kidnapped his mother and deposited her on her gilded perch.
Apparently the Dean of Westminster was appalled. sky above.
Whatever is true, and as I said, there may well be truth in all of them, is another PR blunder, and a particularly ghastly one.
It is important here to draw sanity and merit from the argument.
Prince Andrew has done nothing “wrong” legally after the lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre was settled. Usually even a villain is allowed to attend such an event for a close family member – it’s almost a human right.
Queen Elizabeth can choose who she wants by her side in such an emotional moment.
All very true and all very human.
But the “optics”, as the media calls them, are just terrible. The service was one of those confused and confusing moments where the institution of monarchy, its state role and its frankly political aspects collided with deeply personal aspects of family life.
In truth, it has happened many times before, not least during the painful and protracted breakup of Charles’ marriage to Diana and then after her death in 1997.
The family, for obvious reasons, wanted to protect themselves and craved privacy; The public demanded something else.
With public sentiment turning against the family not showing up in London to show their sorrow for Diana, Tony Blair rendered the monarchy the great service of a wise adviser at the right moment.
Would current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson be willing or able to do the same now?
The palace never got the public/private balance right because ultimately it’s impossible.
However, there are better and worse ways to deal with any potential PR disaster, and whoever is responsible – individually or collectively – for this arm of the monarchy is not doing it very well.
Other recent incidents that come to mind are William and Kate’s tour of the Caribbean, an informal visit somewhat resembling an Imperial Durbar; the way the Palace misled the press about the Queen’s hospitalization last year and indeed her gracious reticence about Prince Philip’s health in his final weeks.
This public relations exercise turned the oft-repeated phrase “in a good mood” into a euphemism for “call a priest.”
But no worry.
From time to time an institution gets into a bit of a presentation rut, and before long, like now, the media will show up or create a “narrative” so that every misstep that might otherwise be overlooked becomes part of a story and the noise grows so they can fix it.
It’s the natural cycle of things, and eventually someone will come along and give the advice and make the decisions that need to be made.
However, when the “client” is the queen herself and the main problem is her stubborn, deluded second son, this is a particularly delicate task.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/britain/prince-andrew-turned-his-fathers-memorial-service-into-another-pr-blunder-41503384.html Prince Andrew turned his father’s funeral into another PR blunder