by Martine PAUWELS / Agence France-Presse
Public anger on the monarchy following the death of Princess Diana marked a turning level for the royal household, forcing a revolution in its communications machine that helped revive the model.
As mourners left 1000’s of bouquets of flowers on the gates of Buckingham Palace and close by Kensington Palace, after Diana’s death on August 31, 1997, the royal household had been nowhere to be seen.
Prince Charles, divorced from Diana, and his mom Queen Elizabeth II remained at their Scottish residence of Balmoral, saying nothing for days.
Despite the British public’s mounting anger on the royal response — or lack thereof — it was not till the day earlier than Diana’s funeral that the queen lastly broke her silence with a stay broadcast to the nation.
The monarch’s distance from the general public outpouring of grief for the girl dubbed the “people’s princess” by then prime minister Tony Blair precipitated resentment.
Having been immersed in protocol and custom for hundreds of years, the royals rapidly realised they had been in pressing want of an image overhaul.
In her tribute to Diana, the queen stated: “I for one believe that there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death.”
The consequence was royals “having to become more professional, and having to take real control and take outside advice and better professional people,” public relations knowledgeable Mark Borkowski instructed AFP.
– ‘Human’ image –
The out-of-touch Buckingham Palace press workplace, which Borkowski remembers used to shut over the weekends whereas among the most fascinating Diana tales unfolded, underwent a shake-up.
Sluggish staff had been changed with PR-savvy professionals.
Patrick Jephson, Diana’s former personal secretary, stated the present image of the monarchy was the product of a “very sophisticated news management campaign”.
The present media technique focusses on distributing constructive details about the monarchy, whereas on the identical time defending the royals’ privateness.
One of the primary duties post-Diana was to create a extra “human” image for the queen, who had been reported as being extra involved about her canines and horses than her residents.
Charles, mocked for being haughty and stiff, has additionally gone by a revamp since his ex-wife’s death.
“He has spent an enormous amount of money hiring very sophisticated, professional, political-style spin doctors to manage his image,” Jephson stated.
The funding has paid off, with the general public’s gradual acceptance of Charles’s relationship along with his former mistress Camilla, whom he married in 2005.
– Queen impresses at Olympics –
The extent of the royal restoration may very well be seen in 2011, when Diana’s eldest son Prince William married Kate in a ceremony watched worldwide as Britons held road events within the couple’s honour.
“What they tried to do was to promote what was good about the royal family,” stated Robert Jobson, co-author of the e-book “Diana: Closely Guarded Secret”.
Elizabeth II fell nicely and actually again in favour on the 2012 Olympic Games, when she permitted a stunt which appeared to present her leaping out of a helicopter into the London stadium alongside James Bond, performed by Daniel Craig.
“They want to be a more approachable, less aloof family… Not these upper-class aristocrats who don’t understand the people,” stated Borkowski.
The media technique seems to have succeeded, with the queen persevering with her record-breaking reign with the assist of her topics.
“I think the monarchy under the stewardship of Her Majesty the Queen has certainly learnt lessons throughout the time”.
And because the monarch slowly steps again from some royal duties, her grandchildren Princes William and Harry are taking up extra public roles — helped by a well-oiled media machine that helped burnish their image within the public eye.
“The whole place has been revolutionised,” Borkowski stated.(AFP)