A whirlwind romance, a picture perfect couple, Amalfi lemons and welsh gold. The Royal Wedding promised to be nothing short of perfection. But sadly for the Royal couple, the days leading up to the biggest day of their lives were steeped in drama.
‘Markle Debacle’ notwithstanding, the event really was beautiful- captivating the attention of millions across the globe, and providing a fairy-tale conclusion to the romance of the year. But things weren’t all sparkles; PR-wise, it was a mixed bag. Below is our take on the wins and fails of the big day.
- Charles saves the day
Showing that kindness trumps protocol even within the royal family, Charles’ offer to walk Meghan down the aisle cemented her position within the family, and dispelled any previous claims of the Windsors cruelly standing by during her family issues.
A moving moment in the ceremony, Charles showed the act was genuine, holding her arm and saying: “You look lovely, are you alright?”
- Media domination
The ultimate measurement in the success of a PR campaign is of course, column inches. A Google news search for the Royal Wedding returns more than 18 million results, it’s reported that 19 million people tuned in to watch the day on TV, and the #RoyalWedding hashtag on Twitter received thousands of mentions. This kind of media domination is one many brands would dream of. Though some of it was taken up with family drama and gossip, all publicity is good publicity, right?
- All the plugs
Not just a success for the Royal Family itself, hundreds of brands jumped on the back of the event with their own campaigns. From an M&S rename to Markle & Sparkle, to a mini ceremony at Legoland, brands were able to capitalise on Harry and Meghan’s nuptials for their own gains.
Journalist Greg Sheridan has controversially come out and said that the wedding itself was a PR coup designed to increase the royal family’s popularity, and while it’s highly unlikely the pairing was a political one a la British monarchs of yore, he does make a valid point. Meghan Markle joining the family has undoubtedly helped to shed some of their fuddy-duddy, blue-blooded image, and paved the way for a more modern approach.
- Meghan’s family drama
No bride wants added stress before the big day. The most stressful thing most brides are faced with is an ill-fitting dress or a forecast of rain. Poor Meghan however, has been faced with her jealous, money-grabbing relatives no less than stalking her. Her dad was exposed for staging photos for money before suffering a heart attack, undergoing surgery and dropping out of the wedding. If that wasn’t enough, the tabloids and gossip sites were awash with claims of a seedy past life, a secret love child, and multiple previous marriages. Rather than being swept under the rug like with the Duchess of Cambridge’s uncle and his criminal conviction for assaulting his wife, a lack-lustre statement was issued and no support was offered from Kensington Palace to Meghan’s father, making the royal establishment appear cold, uncaring and impersonal.
- Homeless be gone
News that the homeless were being moved away from a radius surrounding Windsor castle did nothing to shift negative perceptions of the royal family which ranged from them being viewed as careless snobs to shape-shifting reptilian overlords (no less). The wedding was arguably one of the most expensive events of the year, with the dress allegedly costing £100,000 alone, yet the homeless were being hidden away. Presumably, lest the cameras pan away from the bustling crowds to behold the less jingoistic sight of poverty. They may as well have wrapped them in whimsical bunting and be done with it.
- You’re invited… but bring a picnic
1200 handpicked members of the public were invited to the wedding in order to bridge gaps with the most deprived parts of the UK. Invitees included inner-city workers and community leaders.
This lovely gesture could have made it onto the win list, if it weren’t for the letters sent encouraging guests to ‘bring their own picnics’. A family worth over £400m and they can’t offer so much as cheese and pickle on a stick? The honoured guests were right to be ‘bemused’. However it seems the palace did repent in the end, and offered guests party bags containing water and ‘handbag shortbread’. They’re currently being sold on eBay for more than £20,000.