Prince William should ‘build bridges’ with Harry says Jobson
The Firm has “flipped the script” on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by not publicly hitting back at their accusations but, rather, by offering them a number of olive branches, it has been claimed. Reputation management and PR expert Edward Coram-James branded Meghan’s decision not to travel across the Atlantic to attend the Coronation of King Charles “another misstep in a long line of PR missteps”.
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Speaking to Express.co.uk, the co-founder of Go Up said: “To put things simply: the public are unlikely to ever find out the true behind-the-scenes workings here, and it may well be that the Sussexes’ approach is both considered and proportionate.
“However, crisis comms is often less about reality and more about the presentation of reality.
“Optics are everything, and the Sussexes have, to date, squarely lost the optics war. In this kind of feud, when one side offers the other side an olive branch, it is reputationally very damaging for that olive branch to be rejected.”
King Charles’s decision to include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the 2,000-strong guest list ahead of the Coronation was seen by commentators as a major olive branch in light of the criticism raised against the Firm and some of its members by Meghan and Harry in recent months,
While it is true Meghan is remaining in California with her children, Prince Harry has seemingly accepted this olive branch and will travel to Britain to attend the Coronation on May 6, as it was announced last week.
Royal author Omid Scobie tweeted last week he understood the fact that Prince Archie is turning four on the same day of the Coronation ceremony played a role in the decision of the Sussexes not to travel together to the UK.
Mr Coram-James stressed that it is unlikely the general public will ever find out the reasoning behind the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision over the Coronation attendance and that the optics when it comes to Meghan’s absence at Westminster Abbey next month may not reflect real life.
Nevertheless, the fact that the Sussexes have been openly critical of the Firm and its members in the past while the Royal Family didn’t publicly “punch back” places the Duke and Duchess under a bad light in the court of public opinion.
By remaining silent while offering olive branches, the “Royal Family have flipped the script on the Sussexes”, the commentator added, with the Sussexes no longer appearing the victims of the situation.
He also said: “Again, whether the optics reflect real life is another question entirely, and one that few know the answers to. But, in PR, our principal concern is optics.
“And this is why so many in the crisis comms profession have been so surprised, as this outcome was entirely, or at least in large part, avoidable.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced last week Harry would attend the Coronation alone, while Meghan would remain at their California home with their children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. This came a few days after the deadline for guests to RSVP had reportedly passed.
After they stepped down as full-time working royals in the spring of 2020, the Sussexes opened up about their struggles as senior members of the Firm and their strained relationship with British relatives.
The first shot was fired by Meghan and Harry in March 2021, when they sat down for a long conversation with Oprah Winfrey in which they launched accusations of neglect against the Firm.
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More recently, the Duke and Duchess detailed their difficult relationship with the press and the Firm in a six-episode docu-series for Netflix, titled Harry & Meghan.
The Duke also made astonishing claims and intimate revelations regarding family members in his memoir, Spare, the release of which was accompanied in January by a series of bombshell interviews.
In one, with the Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon, Harry demanded an apology for Meghan from the Royal Family, saying they “have been caught out, so just come clean and then we could all move on”.
At the same time, the Duke expressed multiple times he wants to bridge the gap separating his family from the royals.
On one instance, while speaking with US journalist Anderson Cooper on CBS’s 60 Minutes, the Duke said the ball when it comes to reconciliation is “in their court”, referring to the royals, before adding: “I really look forward to having that family element back. I look forward to having a relationship with my brother. I look forward to having a relationship with my father and other members of my family.”
Neither members of the Firm nor their communications office issued a public response to the attacks and allegations raised by the Sussexes in recent years, as noted by Mr Coram-James.
Rather, King Charles has made a few moves seen by commentators as olive branches to his second son.
Among these, was not just the invite to the Coronation but also a mention in the King’s first-ever speech as sovereign.
The day after his accession to the throne on September 9, the monarch expressed “my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas”.
Nevertheless, the royals have also been at times criticised for their attitude towards the Duke and Duchess.
The decision taken by King Charles to request the Sussexes to vacate their home in Windsor, Frogmore Cottage, was seen as vindictive by some commentators, especially considering it was issued shortly after the publication of Spare.
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