Lovers Lane meets Public Relations. Is the PR game influencing Harry’s happily ever after?

I feel sad for Prince Harry.

Now before you unleash fury on me, hear me out. Yes, he’s set to inherit a boatload of dolla bills from his mother’s estate. He lives in a palace, gorgeous women fawn over him wherever he goes, and well, shit, he’s a Prince, so there’s that… But, in reality, is the life of The Spare, really all it’s cracked up to be? We’ve heard him say, numerous times, that it ain’t all rainbows and unicorns, he’s even expressed how crappy it is to be single and searching for someone, famously saying, “The job that it entails…look at me, I’m 27 years old and not so much searching for someone to fulfill the role, but obviously finding someone that would be willing to take it on.” While Hot Harry has never been one to stay on message, this particular left turn about finding love, may give us a bit of insight into the PR Machine that is The Firm.
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Better living through Prince Harry (and Booze)

I can’t afford to go down to Brazil for the World Cup this year, so I settled for the next best thing: a Saturday afternoon watching England vs. Italy at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Chicago Ridge Mall. There weren’t any Caipirinha’s on the menu and the speakers were blaring hip-hop instead of samba when we arrived at the bar, and the few England supporters on the premises were hiding in the shadows, shyly nursing their $3 Budweisers instead of pounding $8 glasses of Guinness or singing songs or smashing the place or fighting as everything the media has taught me about hooliganism has lead me to expect. I was disappointed by how tame it all was, by how calmly the two guys in the red-and-white St. George caps were swallowing the England defeat on Saturday afternoon, by how generally non-plussed they seemed by the whole affair. So I decided to liven them up by sidling over to their table near the end of the game, opening my fat-little-notebook, and asking them a few questions about Prince Harry.

“We like him okay,” the older man at the table told me after I’d asked for their opinions on Prince Charles’ youngest son, between nibbles of his Mango Habanero chicken wings. “The whole family is okay, I suppose. Kate’s a looker.”

“Yeah, Kate,” said the other one, a guy named Brian who actually turned out to be even less British than I am. He was from Iowa, but he’d spent a few weeks living in Manchester a while back and enjoyed watching football, so…that was enough of a connection for him to feel comfortable wearing that hat, I suppose. Let us judge not that we not be judged, I suppose. After all, it’s hard for me to turn up my nose at his attire given that I’m writing a piece about Prince Harry instead of Clint Dempsey or whoever the hell we’re supposed to be obsessing about this month. “She’s alright. And Diana’s her mother?”

“Actually that’s–”

I was going to explain that they were wrong, and I was going to ask them more about Prince Harry, but the game ended at that juncture and the England fans left for greener pastures. So while my first foray into garnering real, authentic opinions for my Prince Harry piece left quite a lot to be desired, I did come away with an appreciation for how difficult journalism can be and a lot of respect for anyone who is able to scarf down extra-spicy mango habanero wings without crying (Well done limeys!). Anyway, Prince Harry is going to Brazil next week, and while he’s there he’s going to catch at least two games: Cameroon v. Brazil on June 23, 2014 and England v. Costa Rica on June 24, 2014. In addition, he will also spend some time visiting a hospital, a youth organization, an environmental group, and the Team Great Britain facilities that are being built for the 2016 Olympics and Para-Olympics. All of these events will be covered by the UK press, and I’m sure I’ll spend more time digesting and speculating about Prince Harry than I’ll ever spend thinking about Lionel Messi and futbol. I don’t know if you frequent Buffalo Wild Wings as often as yours truly, but here’s a fun little drinking game to play next week, while you’re catching up with HRH via your smartphone. Drink responsibly!

 

Take a drink every time you:

  • Hear or read the words “party prince” or “playboy prince.”

  • Hear or read the words “youngest son.”

  • Hear or read the words “ Princess Diana.”

  • Hear or read the words “ex-girlfriend.”

  • Hear or read the words “eligible bachelor.”

  • Hear or read the words “thirtieth birthday” or “upcoming birthday.”

  • Hear or read the words “Cressida/Cressy Bonas.”

  • Hear or read the words “Chelsy Davy.”

  • Hear or read the words “Will and Kate.”

  • Hear or read the words “Princess Kate.” (ugh!)

  • Hear or read the words “Prince George.”

  • Hear or read the words “fun” or “joke.”

  • Hear or read the words “red-head” or “ginger”. In fact, sip every time you hear an American television announcer say “ginger” with a straight face. I knew a lot of red-heads when I was a kid, but I didn’t meet any self-proclaimed American “gingers” until a few years ago. Now they’re all over the place. Gosh darn creeping Britishisms!

  • You see Harry making somebody laugh.

  • You see Harry wearing a blue suit.

  • You see Harry wearing a regimental tie (blue-red-blue).

  • You see a photo of Cressy Bonas looking stressed.

  • You see a photo of Cressy Bonas looking dirty.

  • You see a photo of Cressy Bonas wearing that goddamn scrunchie.

  • You see a photo of Cressy Bonas chumming it up with the York Girls.

  • You see a photo of Prince George and/or Kate even though the story is ostensibly about Prince Harry in Brazil.

  • You see a photo of Chelsy Davy wearing a bikini or otherwise scantily clad.

 

Chug whenever you:

  • See a photo of Chelsy Davy wearing a suit or anything else similarly appropriate for her job as a Corporate Lawyer in London City.

  • See Harry wearing blue suede shoes.

  • See Harry in a tuxedo.

  • See Harry give a speech.

  • See Harry make a faux pas, particularly if it involves liking another country more than he likes England.

  • See Harry hug a Head of State or a senior diplomat. Buy a case and do a keg-stand if that Head of State is a man.

“I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’” got yanked

I originally thought I was going to watch this show and do something like witty recaps, thoughtful treatises on modern pop culture and misogyny, memes of the contestants with cat faces. I did that for two episodes (not the cat faces) but then it just got too damn boring. But shows like this really aren’t my thing. Surely someone was enjoying it, I thought. I apparently thought wrong. Four episodes in and “I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’” got the gong. (Those of you born in the 70s got that.)

After the first episode – which gave us textbook foreshadowing with its horrible ratings – I approached the show’s PR about doing an email Q&A with “Not Really Prince Harry” Matt Hicks. While the two posts I had made on the show were snarky I was kind to Mr. Hicks. He was kind of growing on me and he surely had the most interesting experience in this whole charade. I had asked him via social media if I could use his personal Instagram photos and he was very happy to oblige. Surely he would be allowed to answer five questions by email?

I told the US and UK press peeps what I wanted and some of the TV appearances I had made as well as publications I had been quoted in – just a little self-horn blowing so they would know pimping an interview to my 10k+ followers might help their failing ratings. Instead I was told “unfortunately Matt’s (sic) has a busy schedule, therefore we are unable to accommodate your request.” Hmm, his Twitter and Instagram sure didn’t make him seem busy. (Btw, a PR friend told me I might have gotten a different response if I had removed my snarky recaps before asking. Whatevs.)

As a consolation prize I was sent a press pack and told I could use the “syndicated” interview it contained. Instead of rubbing this massive fail of a show’s face in the dirt by cut and pasting that interview and interjecting it with LOLZ, I’ll just put the whole press pack here. Enjoy.

(Oh, and all the eps are now on Fox’s website. If you bother to watch the finale, tell me who won. Or not. Whatever.)

Prince Harry and The Mile-High Royal Road Trip


Warning: The following is a long, chatty memoir of my visit to the Warrior Games in 2013. If you want a real report and play-by-play of the event, you should check out Kelly’s blog. She’s better at that type of thing.

Prince Harry’s tour of the U.S. last May was exciting for everyone. I had taken a break from HWW a month before it was announced as I was feeling burnt out but quickly came back once Clarence House spilled the beans. He was hitting up DC, Colorado, NJ and NYC. It sounded epic.

I originally had no intention of visiting any of these places. Getting on a plane for real-life royal watching (unless it was something historic like a wedding) seemed ridiculous. But then my friend Kelly (@royalreview) and I started talking about it and it began to sound like fun. We did cover royals via blogs and Twitter and it was rare to have one visiting the states so extensively so… I agreed I would go to Colorado Springs for the Warrior Games if she did too. It was set.

At the time, my twitter feed was featured on the Royalist’s page at the Daily Beast. Since he wasn’t coming over to cover the events he agreed to let me be his boots on the ground in order to provide some social media input. Kelly also was dispatched for Celebuzz. Now we had real reasons to go!
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Sentebale and the Dorchester Hotel Collection

This past Wednesday (May 7th) Sentebale celebrated their 10th anniversary in a grand affair at the Dorchester Hotel Park Lane in London. Sentebale has done much good in the past decade. You can’t discount the difference Prince Harry and Prince Seesio have made in the lives of Lesotho youth. And now Harry is looking to expand their work to impoverished youth in other countries. (He recently took a private trip to Botswana apparently to scout out opportunities for Sentebale to do work there.)

Sentebale is especially remarkable as it is Harry’s own charity. It’s part of a royal’s job description to participate in and be patrons of charities. But you can see his true dedication to his when he goes above and beyond such as walking to the South Pole with Walking With The Wounded. Or, in this case, founding his own organization at the tender age of 20. He deserves praise and respect for that. However, I’ve been disappointed as of late with some choices this organization has made in terms of whose support they accept.

I wrote last fall about Harry attending a dinner in honor of Sentebale hosted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoumwas, vice-president and prime minster of the UAE and ruler of Dubai. Dubai does not a have great record for human rights or equality for women. I imagine the $1 million the Sheikh raised for Sentebale provided little consolation for the victims of sexual assault who have been treated with injustice and cruelty by the UAE’s government.

This week, Sentebale’s celebration party was held at a Dorchester hotel. The Dorchester Collection of hotels has recently become the focus of an international boycott including support from many notable celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Sir Richard Branson. The boycott stems from the company’s financial ties to Brunei’s finance ministry. Its sultanate has recently enacted severe Sharia law in his nation. Cruel punishments such as public stoning for “crimes” like homosexuality and adultery are now in play in Brunei. It is a horrible violation of basic human rights.

Now it is quite possible (and likely) that the Sentebale party was booked long before this boycott began. However, I think it would behoove the organization to speak publicly about their involvement and the crimes being committed by Brunei. It is difficult to stomach such a noble charity remaining silent while others, such as Richard Branson whose family has been close to both Princes Harry and William since they were children, stand up and demand justice. In fact, Branson said “No @Virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights.” And Sentebale can say nothing?

This reminds me of the public outcry over the apparent hypocrisy of Harry and William launching new Tusk Trust initiatives days after returning from a hunting trip. Shortly after, a (very old) photo of Harry standing proudly over a dead wildebeest was released to more outrage. Granted, both of those hunting trips were perfectly legal but so was elephant hunting when William’s forefathers first took to Africa, helping lead to the animal’s current precarious status. For them to make no comment on people’s outrage at the contrast of their actions versus their words was disheartening.

I believe Harry and his brother are good people at heart and absolutely use their positions to do good work. But when they stay silent while people criticize them for seemingly hypocritical actions, it detracts from their good efforts. It smacks of privilege and the ability to pick and choose your concerns. Accepting money – or in the case of the party at the Dorchester – giving money to people and countries who commit human rights violations ultimately goes against the very wrongs Sentebale is trying to right.

So what say you, HRH? Do you care about the public’s concerns and anger or can we only expect you to continue to have a tin ear to injustices that don’t fit into your own agenda?

Two Princes in the Dirty

Before I get started note that I don’t plan on reviving @hwaleswatch. Tweeting every news item that pops up and letting you know that Prince Harry just farted at the All Star Lanes or bought a frappucino two minutes ago takes too much time (also: boring.) Okay, I lied. I succumb too easily to peer pressure and am apparently a masochist. I’m giving @hwaleswatch a trial run to see if I really want it back in my life or not.

But I’ve been unable to completely give up royal watching and my resolve to do so is tested by constant pleas to start tweeting again. So I’m thinking of blogging here semi-regularly just to get my royal ‘pinions out there. This would also spare my non-royal twitter followers who DGAF about the Kardashians of Kensington Palace. ( I just coined that term on my other blog. You like it?) Maybe there will even be some guest bloggers now and then.

Let’s do it. This week was all about the clusterfuck in Bluff City (oh and a breakup.) No pics this time as I don’t have time to run around getting permission to use photos you’ve already seen.

For the tl;dr types, here’s your DM-style bullet points:

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Meet the Royal Press: a Q&A with Richard Palmer

rpalmer

Richard Palmer is the royal correspondent for the U.K.’s Daily Express. He’s one of the most active royal correspondents on Twitter with over 20 thousand followers. His popularity is no doubt due to his honest commentary on the royals and his ready interaction with his followers. Fortunately, that same openness allowed me to quiz him a bit. Enjoy!

What’s your background and how did you begin covering the royal family?

I’ve been a reporter for 30 years in various guises and have written about a whole range of subjects, from the environment to crime, education, international news ( particularly the Balkans and the Middle East), and sport. I spent eight years at The Sunday Times, worked in Paris and the Middle East regional headquarters in Nicosia for Agence France-Presse, covered sport for the Sunday and then Daily Express, helped set up an internet start-up, and then returned to the Daily Express at the end of 2001.
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