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A Week of Royal News: American Journos Revitalizing the Spirit of 1776, Jack Whitehall, and New PR Man Jason Knauf

Saturday, November 22, 2014

There has been a bit of a hubbub over the supposed guidelines that Buckingham Palace issued to American journalists hoping to cover the royal tour. The Daily Beast implied, whether deliberately or through genuine error, that a specific "communiqué" had been issued by the Palace on this topic. As a result, certain members of the American media responded with a host of sarcastic and rebellious tweets and short op-eds. Vanity Fair ran a piece highlighting some of these responses, here



It then slowly became apparent that no communiqué of any kind had been released, and a host of "updated" articles ensued. The general guidelines on the BP site, for journalists covering overseas tours, reads: [emphasis added]
Journalists wishing to cover Royal engagements, whether in the United Kingdom or abroad, should comply with the dress code on formal occasions out of respect for the guests of The Queen, or any other member of the Royal Family. Smart attire for men includes the wearing of a jacket and tie, and for women a trouser or skirt suit. Those wearing jeans or trainers will not be admitted and casually dressed members of the media will be turned away. This also applies to technicians.
This is primarily a tempest in a tea-pot. It was an easy piece to run with, and an even easier issue to add some snark in 140 characters or less. It is hardly representative of the American public, or even the American media as a whole. That being said, it would behoove those members of the media who prize clever comments and witty ripostes, to check facts before sounding off in the public forum... 

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Some cute stories have filtered out of the Royal Variety Performance. Jack Whitehall, as you may remember from the post on the Royal Variety Performance, is the comedian who went to Marlborough, several years behind Kate. At the performance, he joked that the Duchess was the "one who got away", and has since been milking his night with the royals. This has been to our advantage, because Mr. Whitehall is quite humorous and I have really enjoyed both these little stories.



People quoted Whitehall being interviewed about the evening of the performance on the Jonathan Ross Show, describing William's reaction afterward:
"William came over and he was very funny, he was very nice but very passive aggressive [and said] 'Oh, so you were flirting with my missus? Oh no that was very funny!'
While William is not a professional comedian, he is a very witty man, and I am sure they were both having a good laugh.  This wasn't the only story that Whitehall told. Although obviously taking some creative license, he recounted urging Demi Lovato to rub Kate's pregnant tummy. E! reported: 
"[Demi] was very nice, very sweet, but American and didn't necessarily buy into my sense of humor," Jack told the host. "Everyone is very nervous when the royal family is coming around and she asked me what the protocol was with the royal bump, 'Can we talk about the baby and stuff?,' and as a joke I said 'The Duchess of Cambridge I think would be offended if you didn't have a little feel' as a joke."...
..."She takes [my suggestion] completely at face value, and as Kate Middleton is coming along the line, I suddenly realize that we've got a situation here where either I need to step in and tell her that it was a joke and look like an idiot or potentially Demi Lovato from Frozen is about to get taken out by a police marksmen, so I told her," he recalled.
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Last piece of news that is piquing my interest: William and Kate have at last replaced Ed Perkins with, surprisingly, an American: Jason Knauf. Knauf will take on the office of Communications Director for the royal couple in January. The PR guru was educated in New Zealand (as well as a masters from the London School of Economics) and worked for various government officials in NZ, in a variety of roles, before he came to the UK to work for the Royal Bank of Scotland. He is only in his thirties with a reputation as cool and laid back. Already, members of the press seem excited to see how his style will effect the relationship between press and Palace. As many of you know, that relationship has been a strained one over the years, and this could bode very well for the future. Gordon Rayner's full report is here

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