KATE EXPECTATIONS trumpeted one headline, announcing the news fans of Britain’s royal family have been waiting to hear: Princess Kate is pregnant. Press officials for Buckingham Palace made the announcement yesterday afternoon but the royal family barely beat the media. Had they not rushed the news, the headlines might have been altogether different.
The princess’s last experience with the media came a few short months ago, when she learned that for her, there is no longer any such thing as privacy. Even sunbathing on a secluded estate is meaningless when you’re royalty, and among the most popular members of the royal family at that.
Typically, pregnancy announcements are made well after the risky first trimester; Kate is a mere 10 weeks along. In her case, the revelation was forced when she was hospitalized due to hyperemesis gravidarium, a serious type of morning sickness that can require IV fluids as no food or liquid can be kept down.
Had the media got wind of Kate’s unexplained hospitalization, or heard that she was pregnant through the inevitable loose lips, the headlines would have focused on the worst: the princess and royal heir in danger! However, the royals seized control of the situation quickly. The announcement? We’re pregnant! (And oh, by the way, Kate’s in hospital, but just as a precaution.)
The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for the royal family for scooping the media and accentuating the positive aspect of the news.
The PR Takeaway: When revelations are inevitable, make them quickly – and to your own advantage. By making the announcement themselves, the royal family were able to focus on the aspect they wanted – the pregnancy – and not Kate’s illness. Imagine for a moment if the media had made the announcement; the sensation would have topped those topless photos. Secrets cannot be kept, but they can be controlled. How it comes out depends on the one doing the telling.