A new statue of Princess Diana, to be unveiled at Kensington Palace in London on Thursday (what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday), will honor a woman whose charisma, compassion and rebellious tendency have revolutionized royal affairs.
It will also only be the second time his sons Prince William and Prince Harry have been seen together since Harry and his wife, Meghan, began publicly criticizing the Royal Family from their new home in California.
The first time was.
Correspondent Holly Williams asked: “Is it difficult for Harry to make these return visits to the UK after? “
“Oh, it’s incredibly difficult,” said Ayesha Hazarika, journalist and former policy advisor. “They are like outcasts in this country. They are treated abominably by the press. They are criticized from left, right and center.”
Hazarika said the royal family had been damaged by the couple’s allegations of racism: “There are a lot of young people, a lot of people in black and Asian communities watching this. They took it very, very personally. of the royal family and quite embarrassed for Britain. ”
She said the royal family is desperately lacking in Harry and Meghan’s star power.
“William and Kate are really front and center when it comes to advertising, especially Kate Middleton,” Hazarika said. “I think what the PR machine behind the Royal Family is trying to do is turn William and Kate into new Meghan and Harry. They are trying to make them sort of a rock star.”
Kate and William released a Hollywood-style video to mark their 10th wedding anniversary; the royal family has never done anything like this before:
It was Kate who appeared with First Lady Jill Biden during her visit to the UK this month:
And Kate who has become prolific on Zoom calls with members of the public:
“Harry and Meghan were very, very popular and they were sucking in a lot of oxygen,” said Jonny Dymond, BBC News royal correspondent. “And so, with them off the stage, there’s definitely more attention being paid to William and Kate.”
Earlier this month, Dymond reported on Harry and Meghan’s decision to name their newborn daughter Lilibet, a private royal family nickname for the Queen. The couple said the Queen had supported him – but were publicly humiliated when a palace source told Dymond she had not been questioned.
“When I first brought it up, I said, ‘It’s a mark of great love and respect,” Dymond said. “Then I was told a slightly different story than the palace. It didn’t make people feel better, I think, on both sides of the Atlantic.”
While the vast majority of British citizens still support the monarchy, the younger ones are much more sympathetic to Harry and Meghan. But more strikingly, more than 40% of 18-24 year olds now say they would prefer an elected head of state, according to a recent YouGov poll.
Jane Wilson is one of the subjects of the Queen who says she could do without her. “I’m pretty agnostic about the Royal Family,” she told Williams. “I appreciate that some people like them and that they’re here. But personally I don’t see the need for it, or I think Britain would be a lesser country without them.”
Williams asked Wilson, a public relations guru, to analyze Kate and William’s new video. “It was like an advertisement for an insurance company or a campaign business,” she said.
Williams asked: “Do you think this was at least in part explicitly done to counter the narrative pushed by Harry and Meghan?”
“I almost certainly think so,” Wilson replied. “I think it sparked a kind of soft power charm offensive for the family, for Kate and Will in particular.”
A family dispute exposed the challenges facing a 1,000-year-old institution in the modern world.
Dymond said: “I don’t think there is any doubt that there is a debate in the palace over the future of the monarchy.”
Are they worried? “I don’t know if they are worried,” he said. “They know they don’t have a divine right to survive. They know they are here with the tolerance and support of the British people. I don’t think they are terrified, but yes they think without any doubt it. “
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Story produced by Erin Lyall. Publisher: Mark Ludlow.