Illustrations by Hannah Robinson
The one certainty that Britain can rely on in any national crisis, is the swift rise of Royal coverage. While it can’t be denied that the Royal family is part of the bread and butter of British life, the current rise in royal reports and commentary as well as a law suit from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, against the Daily Mail poses the question: at what point does this coverage simply go against both public and royal benefit?
YouGov reported that 55% of the population looked towards the Queen’s recent address for a countrywide morale boost. This demonstrates that the Royal platform can, and is, utilised regularly to comfort large portions of the population. However, there is a distinct dichotomy between the platform that they use and the gossip mill that hounds them. The latter form of reporting is so harmful that members of the family are taking our media to court for invasive reporting. This irony is clear.
In modern times, the Royal family have seen their personal lives obsessed over to the point where they have become less of a symbol of their duties, and more a source of scintillating gossip. Many believe that it is their right to know such details, as the royals’ lives are taxpayer funded.
Yet, if reporting on the Royal family’s activities is of such great importance, why do we rarely hear of the (almost 3,000) charities that the they officially support? I’ve heard more in the past year about Meghan Markle’s letters to her father, as opposed to Prince Harry’s Invictus games, a much more worthwhile story. It seems that it is the details of our Royals’ personal lives that sells papers. Britain is addicted to the Royal gossip stream.
In the past couple of weeks, I have been dutifully informed of Princess Charlotte’s birthday facetime to the Queen; William and Kate’s home-schooling; Fergie’s storytelling; Meghan Markle’s apparent hate for her feet; the Duchess of Cornwall’s ballet lessons; Princess Eugene’s cancelled wedding and multiple ex- employee’s insights into likely Royal quarantine plans, just to name a few.
Some of these stories demonstrate the Royal family using their platform to advocate following lockdown and social distancing measures. Others raise concern. Perhaps the children’s story time YouTube channel of Fergie (the ex- royal), should not be promoted in newspaper articles due to her associations with, at the time convicted paedophile, Jeffery Epstein.
Moreover, the constant stream of “insider information” from those once distantly attached to the family raises questions of accuracy. The constant bombardment of such meagre, yet apparently wildly important gossip, from all major news outlets aptly demonstrates the press’ habits of scrounging for any morsel of Royal news.
We, as the public, need to question what we want from our Royal media coverage, as we are the ones who ultimately dictate it. We constantly complain that the Royal family are not acting ‘regal’ enough but simultaneously wish to know every detail of their lives.
It is time that we re-evaluate our relationship with the Royal family, and perhaps loosen up on our demand for such personal coverage. We, the public, do not need to know every detail, as we are not privy to all aspects of the Royals lives. If you want to find some inspiring news during this pandemic, look towards the plethora of local charities, and there you’ll find a story that really deserves the public’s time.