Public relations for Britain’s Royal Family seems to take one step forward and two giant steps back. For every bit of good news, such as Prince William’s marriage to Kate, there are the photos of topless Kate and bottomless Prince Harry. After England enjoyed the christening of Prince George comes the setback: the Royals are almost broke.
The obvious jokes about all things being relative and selling some of the crown jewels fall flat when the numbers are run. The Household is down to its last £1 million ($1.6 million). This account is meant for travel, staff salaries, and maintenance of the family’s residences, including Buckingham Palace. Replacement of the heating system in the palace alone could cost nearly all the Household has. There’s removal of asbestos, a new roof for Windsor Palace… What happened? The answer is rather commonplace: overspending.
And here the Royal family finds itself at a rather interesting PR juncture. As Royals, they were never meant to be considered “of the people.” However, Princess Diana began a tide of relatability carried on by her sons. Could this low bank account – relative to royals – be a chance to get closer to the people, who are much in the same boat?
THE PR VERDICT: “C” (Distinctly OK) for the Royal Family. The low bank account is embarrassing but puts them in a position of telling their subjects, “We’re just like you.”
THE PR TAKEAWAY: Look for the silver lining. Much of the world is still being affected by the global recession; no one is living high on the proverbial hog. The new Pope is the champion of humble living, making it seem a virtue to live on less. The Royals could use this opportunity to win the hearts of Britain with fiscal solidarity. They might even get a lower estimate on that asbestos removal.