Royal Family: the Merry Crowned?
The Royal Baby, Queen Elisabeth II’s official pictures, Prince Harry’s wedding, Windsor’s communication, etc. all tend to disclose more and more backstage of the Royal Family. Even if, in the past, it was said ‘aging’ and ‘cold’, the Royal family currently blows a breath of fresh air or even of avant-gardism. In a tense political context in the United Kingdom, how has Royal Family, at its lowest eleven years ago, at Diana’s death, redirect its positionning and its communication to be closer to the British people?
- From social grouping to diversity
Monarchy of another time has gone. The distant royalty is dead, long live popular royalty open to commoners, even divorced, Catholic and Métis or a mix of these three. Arranged marriages in the big European families has been replaced by presence and charism of a graduate in Story and Art or the glamour of an actress and Annie Leibovitz is chosen as official photograph.
English monarchy is gradually become, in a general context where divisions are more and more stronger in British society, a basis, an unshakeable rock, a union and symbiosis’ safe-haven.
The last royal marriage is a perfect illustration of this. The comments on Diana and Charles ‘wedding were concentrated on the number of pearls or on Lady D’s train of dress’ length, those on William and Kate’s marriage on the number of viewers worldwide and already on some prestigious guesses (as the Beckham couple or Elton John). Meghan and Harry’s wedding crystallizes an improbable encounter between British monarchy and popular Hollywood stars but also with what we call the Anglo-Saxon world. Media often talk about “Black Power shaking the royal wedding” (Le Figaro) or even of “Celebration of Black identity” (The Guardian). The Royal family moves with the times. It’s just a special institution in British society, it is one of a fundamental component in all its diversity.
- The keys of a federating communication
The analysis of the communication of the royal family can only be made based on a general context in which the greatness of the perfidious Albion is also measured by the popularity of his most illustrious representatives.
Orchestrated masterfully by Buckingham, the Crown’s communication is based on a perfectly mastered storytelling. From the royal wedding to the first public appearances of the royal heirs, the major events are expertly revealed, distilled and staged so that the positioning of the royal family does not suffer from any controversy or public debate.
On the contrary, it must make it possible to converge the positive opinions of the British people. The way in which the image of Prince Harry has been restored in a few years is from this point of view a model of its kind. Harry has always been less smooth than his eldest, and his escapades have been on the front pages of the tabloids for years. It is today a carrier value of the royal family. In the meantime, exemplary reports have shown him simple and courageous in Afghanistan and then support his wounded comrades through his association Invictus.
- A monarchy2.0
The royal family lives with its time, and its communication evolves according to the technologies. From the touching speech, both solemn and full of empathy of George VI on the BBC to announce the entry into the war of the Great Britain in September 1939 to the recruitment announcement posted on Linkedin by Kate and William in July 2017. Faced with the need to embark on a new impetus, the royal family is using the entire range of methods and channels of communication 2.0. Instagram, Snapchat, photos, videos, to highlight everything goes. Windsor is opening itself and digitizing itself. The media coverage is always more important, the echo aroused on the social media too. The wedding of Harry and Meghan generated more than 6M tweets, almost 5M more than for the wedding of Kate and William.
But behind these new forms of speaking, can the English monarchy really follow the trend without (too much?) distorting itself, and moving away from what distinguishes it? Between sustainable value and constant evolution, between tradition and modernity, between privilege and popularity, the balance is fragile … The communication of the royal family has become positive, joyful, open, extraordinarily dynamic. But the hard part is not to install it over time? A well-known problem of companies. Because, finally, the family Windsor, which one designated often, a few years ago, under the unflattering name of “the firm”, is a brand like the others … or almost.