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Is Charles' Press Office Consolidation Focused on Rebranding the Cambridges

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Prince of Wales with Kate and William in December of 2011
Allpix/Splash News

Thursday marked 1,000 days as a Duchess for Kate Cambridge. I immediately thought of that movie, Anne of the 1,000 Days, about Anne Boleyn's short and ill-fated reign as Henry VIII's 2nd queen. Dark, I know. Certainly not a good comparison to our Duchess who is happily married and has produced a male heir. Eeck. Today is actually the anniversary of Anne and Henry's marriage, too, but enough with distant history.

Already making waves this week, is the news that Prince Charles is merging his press office with the Queen's at Buckingham Palace, signaling what many claim is further proof Her Majesty is making way for Charles. This isn't all that exciting. After all, everyone knows that the Queen must begin to slow down given her age, and naturally Charles will step up his game to aid his mother. No one thinks the Queen will ever step down for him unless she goes entirely batty and that doesn't seem to be likely. 

Far more interesting is that the younger royals will also be consolidated into the same press office. The Daily Beast is claiming this is a move on the part of Charles to hold the reigns of control a little tighter as he attempts to shift the focus from frivolous things like fashion and personal lives, to the more weighty topics that he wants the royals to be highlighting. 

The Six Senior Members of the BRF.
Mirrorpix/Splash News

Obviously, it is hard to say for certain what all the reasons for this consolidation are, or what is going through his head.  It has been reported over the years that Charles worries about the viability of the monarchy in the modern age and he believes that to survive, it must be pared down. It was rumored, although not confirmed, that Prince Andrew and Prince Charles argued about this topic when Charles wanted the York girls to search for real world careers rather than expect to take on duties as working members of the royal family. Since that time, it has been a bit 50/50. Beatrice and Eugenie both appear to be working on finding their place in regular career paths, but they also have undertaken public engagements when they can. Whether this is because the initial rumors are untrue or because Andrew is a pretty forceful individual when he wants his way is not entirely apparent. Frankly, my money is on Andrew pushing for his way. Remember, at the root, this is still a family like any other. Charles is just Andrew's older brother, but from his perspective I am sure he wants his girls to have a greater role than Charles is willing to allow. That being said, the cards are stacked against Andrew and any royal not in direct succession, because ultimately, Charles is right. The monarchy has to keep the focus on the relevant. The energy and resources need to be directed toward the members of the royal family who keep the brand fresh and exciting, and those are the members of the family closest to the throne. Indeed, when the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, only the 6 most senior royals were present on the balcony appearance. Those royals were the Queen, (the DoE, was absent for health reasons) Charles and Camilla, William and Kate, and Prince Harry. 

If Charles is attempting to continue this consolidation of power to highlight and stress which members of the royal family are more royal than others, it isn't an entirely unwise move. If he is hoping to quash the royal-mania over Kate, William, and the new Cambridge family, and the interest in the Middletons, or indeed the whole industry of royal watchers drawn in by Kate's ever increasing fame, he is making quite a large mistake. I hope that he is savvy enough to see that Kate makes the monarchy cool and this mania that has swept the globe, although not directly focused on the causes he may want to remain front and center, does generate a certain spinoff of interest in those causes that would otherwise not exist at all. Better to take what you can get. Remember, Charles, never look a gift horse in the mouth... If his aim is refocus attention to drier topics, his attempts will be futile, no one is going to tire of this any time soon:

Royals Flirting? Kate and William at Vernon Park in June 2012
Steve Finn/Splash News

Thankfully for Charles and the monarchy, our interest can only strengthen the family firm.

15 comments:

  1. I think Charles and Camilla are a very jealous couple. They do not like all the attention that William & his beautiful Kate get from the public. Charles was very jealous of Diana & the attention she received. He can try all he want's but this attention will never go away. They are the face of the royal family and it is because of Will & Kate that the family is popular again. Not because of Charles & Camilla. It is to bad that they can not skip over Charles & make William king & Kate queen. Charles should not be aloud to be king because he married a divorced woman. That was the way it was in the past but yes times have changed but this should not change. Camilla is not worthy to be queen.

    Now when will we see the beautiful Duchess again. I am having Duchess withdrawals...lol Hope William is commuting daily so he can be at home in the evening with his family. I am surprised that we have not seen anymore photos of William since the Duchess's birthday. Jane do you have any news on William commuting.

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  2. This post was really interesting. I do think for the monarchy to survive in the coming years then it does need to remain relevant and current. Which does indeed mean less pomp and ceremony while keeping the tradition alive that makes it unique in world history. I think the public also need to feel that the monarchy has a purpose other than being a tourist attraction. So regular engagements and being visible is very important. I Think kate and William really do signal a new age for the monarchy, as they have shown the traditional but also the modern and have remained relevant through thier work with charity. I read an article in the independent about Charles and how he is a 'political prince'. I think he is interested in using his role to push forward causes he cares about, such as agriculture and thé environment.

    These are some of the best time for the monarchy in terms of popularity since kate and thé birth of prince george, however one could argue these are some of the worst times. Since the economic downturn and thé age of harsh austerity, there has been a strong and consistent backlash against people who are privelged and those with inherited wealth, thereofore the monarchy must show they have a definite and important purpose.

    I am having serious kate withdrawls now! Where is she?! She must be getting ready for her big tour!

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  3. I think Charles and the whole royal family need to tread lightly. The royal family should have NO pull in politics, it has always been this way, they are not political figure heads and the minute Charles pushes his agendas politically is when there will be retaliation and push back. He is not a politician. They are meant to highlight causes, current issues and support British community not push political ideology and influence change in laws and legislation. Charles is already showing this tendency for ultimate power and control and that will backfire on him and the whole royal family

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    1. Look at the very first picture of the royal family standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace....The Queen right there is directly showing u the very future of the royal family. What ur seeing is at least 200yrs of stability and monarchy well to the 22nd century......Anybody who thinks the monarchy has to "survive" or be "relevant" doesn't know what their talking about. !! The monarchy apart from being resilient is enduring, and has survived greater crisis than a prince having an affair .

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  4. I wonder how much the rules of precedence, specifically during private occasions, are in play with who Charles is choosing to allow in or out for occasions he can control. While the Queen is alive the rules during private gatherings are of her choosing and he and Camilla must abide by them, which (since 2005- the year of Charles & Camilla's marriage) puts Camilla 4th behind the Queen, Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra.

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    1. Camilla is behind Alexandra in precedence? Do you mean like Kate is with William? If Kate's with William she's #4. If Camilla is with Charles she's #3. When they aren't with spouses, they sink down below all the "blood" royals. Am I correct?

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    2. There is a difference between your rank as a royal and your number in order of succession to the throne. Kate is a very senior member of the BRF, but she is not in line to throne at all. I think Anonymous 1 was simply discussing order of precedence rather than order of succession, but I can see where Anonymous 2 may have been confused....

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    3. I'm anonymous 2 and I'm not confused. We aren't talking succession, we're talking precedence amongst the royals, right?

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/9351571/The-Queen-tells-the-Duchess-of-Cambridge-to-curtsy-to-the-blood-princesses.html

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    4. Ooops. That was my mistake, then, sorry!
      Yes, it was pretty widely report that precedence was changed, but up to know I think it has been a fairly moot point. Kate really only mixes with blood royals for family occasions, and William always accompanies her. She did undertake an engagement with Camilla and the Queen, but that precedence would remain unchanged by spouses being present. It has always been rumored that the younger royals are quite a bit more relaxed and don't curtsy when alone together at all. I can see that going either way. Of course, when the Queen or elder members are present protocol is strictly adhered to. It may be we will see events in the future that will clarify the more particular scenarios. Kate bumps into Beatrice and Eugenie without William, or something...

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  5. Thanks for the interesting post Jane! I fully agree with your point of view; as a foreigner, it is thanks to the duchess of Cambridge that I have grown a deep interest in the British monarchy. After Diana's death, I didn't remember such amount of press attention and interest in the British Royal family being followed outside the UK. And the focus has shifted in a very positive way, being now new and fresh. We who like Catherine have an interest in her and hence will to understand her world. It is thrilling to have an insight of a royal life through her eyes!

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  6. This is very interesting, isn't it? I see Charles' point, but the tricky thing is that one day Harry will be in Andrew's position. I doubt Harry will mind keeping a lower profile eventually, but I wonder if Charles considered that. I do think it was particularly unfair of him to marginalize the rest of the family at the Jubilee. The queen has a huge family and is a doting matriarch by all accounts! If I were Andrew or Bea or Eug, I would feel a little frosty about that, for sure.

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  7. Hi Jane,

    On another Kate-centric blog someone made a good point, that the Palace "grey men" are keeping Kate, William and Harry in the background in order to focus more attention on Charles and Camilla. In one way, this makes perfect sense as Charles is the heir and really must show that he is capable of taking on the duties and responsibilities of the monarchy. As the Queen is getting older and slowing down a little, Charles is able to fufill some of her duties, helping him get a sense of the massive responsibilities that come with being king, also by putting Camilla a little more in the foreground it gives the British people time to come to grips with the fact that one day she will be Queen Consort.

    I hope that as time goes on Beatrice and Eugenie will continue to perform some royal duties, similar to the way the Queen's cousins sometimes attend receptions, openings and such, to take some of the burden off the senior royals. When William ascends the throne he will need them to help out at such events.

    While Charles is learning to be king,I think that it would be wonderful to see the Cambridges, especially Kate take on a more relevant role. In the almost three years since their marriage, Kate has only given two speeches and one video. I hope in the future she will take a more active role with her charities, simply showing up and shaking a few hands won't be enough. She will need to say something about them, highlight the good work they do, tell people how they can help, etc. If not then all we can take away from her visit is what she wore and how her hair looked. The role of royalty is to inspire us to be of service of others, as they are to be of service to their subjects, and to highlight worthy causes. I believe that Kate could do a very good job at this, now is the time for her to start.

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    1. Very good points. I've wondered about the lack of speaking engagements Kate has done since marrying William. And she's basically only given one interview, where William did most of the talking. Perhaps this is not Kate's choosing at all, like I've thought. Perhaps it's Charles request, to keep Kate in the public eye, but removed by a few degrees so as not to completely overshadow him and Camilla.

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  8. I think the report today about the finances of the Monarchy explain some of this. Consolidation of the offices is an austerity move, one that reduces personnel. Beatrice and Eugenie need to get jobs and marry rich men and not look to the Crown for support. Anne's children do not and Edward's children will have the same journey. The offspring of the younger children of the Monarch have always done this. The sooner those girls marry those rich fellas they are dating, the better for Charles. Then he will just need to house his idiot brother and his ex-wife Sarah, neither of whom have a grasp of finances.

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  9. I wouldn't take much notice of press reports about the royal finances stuff. Lol As if reporters are allowed such information. Load of rubbish!!!. Andrew does a lot of broad charity work as well as ambassador work around the commemwealth. It's not reported as much, but look carefully he's always there at major events. He also supports charities abroad mainly in Canada. The Queen always puts her children out there working hard as an example to the public. Andrew was a front line helicopter pilot in forces in the Falklands and did regular tours of duty. Unfortunately he married that idiot Sarah. Even Diana broke of their friendship in the end, as fergie was just plain embarrassing. Andrew has never remarried, he spends a lot of time with his daughters so give him credit he's brought them up well. The loves her grandchildren and supports them as well as letting them find their way as young princesses. Fergie is unpopular. She doesn't get invitations to anything. And rightly so.

    I think some ppl are getting ahead of themselves about Charles consolidating and combining offices. It's not an austerity thing. He's preparing for kingship and learning on hand as well. Everything affects down the line too, as William is preparing to become the prince of Wales and management of the duchy . That's why he doing the Cambridge course. Historically the royals plan Ascension years ahead. Queen Mary gave instructions almost ten years ahead before her passing away. Our present Queen is dutifully preparing the future. U have to watch carefully and read the signs to know. As for example the appearance on the balcony of only the senior members of the immediate family in diamond jubilee celebrations. It showed Charles and Camella, William and Kate, and Harry only. Together with baby George, her majesty revealed the future of the monarchy. I read the sign and tears came. She never let us down God bless her.and long may she reign.

    All best Jane.

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