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how the royal family brand will weather the scandal

Writer : Pauline Maclaran, Professor of Advertising & Client Analysis, Royal Holloway College of London

Prince Andrew’s life within the public eye has lengthy been rife with scandal, escalating with the sexual assault case in opposition to him heading to trial within the US. To make certain, the developments and particulars will possible trigger emotional ache to Andrew’s household and his accuser, however the present scandal additionally dangers badly tainting public notion of the royal model.

The British royal household is a company model that requires the general public’s help to make sure its survival – Prince Philip even referred to it as “The Agency”. In our period of shopper tradition, this implies the monarchy should carry one thing of worth to its folks, similar to a way of safety and celebration of British traditions.

To grasp how adverse press in regards to the Duke of York suits into centuries of brand name historical past, we should first perceive model structure – particularly, the distinction between a home of manufacturers and a branded home. The previous (for instance, Unilever, which acts because the mother or father model to Dove and Lynx) lets its manufacturers develop their very own id unconnected to the mother or father model. The royal household, in distinction, is a branded home. Every of its sub-brands (the people who make up the royal household, Andrew included) displays the values and id of the mother or father model.

The royal title of HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) is especially indicative of the duty to endorse “royal” values. That is, after all, the place Andrew has failed miserably. In forbidding Andrew to make use of this title, together with stripping him of his patronages and army titles, the royal household is making an attempt arduous to distance itself strategically from Andrew –- and appease the general public by showing to punish him for his conduct.

Sooner or later, we will count on that Andrew will likely be marginalised in any official celebrations and that he won’t carry out any future duties on behalf of the model. Naturally, he’s nonetheless the Queen’s son – and this relationship can’t be undone. He’s subsequently prone to be positioned as her wayward son in ways in which might win extra help for the Queen from her public. The principle strategic response we will count on from Buckingham Palace is to emphasize the positives across the monarchy to suppress the extra adverse elements of the Andrew scandal.

Royal response

The Queen is massively in style, so the palace is prone to make a lot of the upcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations to emphasize the advantages of the monarchy –- its longevity, British heritage and so forth. We will additionally extra count on optimistic information tales about Prince William, Kate and household with the intention to guarantee the general public of the monarchy’s protected and virtuous future.

The royal household has weathered many trials and tribulations previously century with little long-term impression. From Queen Victoria’s philandering son, Bertie, who went on to be the revered Edward VII to Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson’s toe-sucking incident together with her lover.

A plate with a photo of the Queen and other royal souvenirs in a shop.
The royals aren’t only a household, they’re a model.
Neil Corridor / EPA-EFE

Maybe the most important risk was Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936 to marry a twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson, lower than a yr after he had acceded to the throne. This was an unlimited scandal on the time as a result of the Church of England forbade the King to marry a divorcée. As well as, Edward was identified to have Nazi and fascist sympathies. This case is illustrative of the acute lengths that may be taken to avoid wasting the fame of the monarchy – Edward and Wallis spent the remainder of their lives in exile and had little contact with different royals. Certainly, to this present day, the Queen not confers the title Duke of Windsor to keep away from any ongoing adverse associations with the scandal.

With different scandals, such because the tapes of Charles and Diana’s phone conversations with their lovers, the palace coverage has been to say little and permit it to be outdated by extra newsworthy occasions. That is the kind of strategy they’re prone to take with Andrew. But it surely won’t essentially show profitable, as usually there are different components that the palace can’t management.

Within the instances of Charles, the scandal of his affair with Camilla has had an enduring adverse impact on public perceptions of his picture. Netflix’s collection The Crown has additionally lately introduced an unfavourable portrayal of this again into the general public eye. Conversely, the identical programme has given viewers a greater understanding of the Queen and her sacrifices on behalf of the crown.

Because of this, the way forward for the monarchy is unlikely to be threatened in any main manner by the Andrew scandal whereas the Queen stays at its helm. Ought to Charles accede to the throne, nevertheless, the image might change fairly dramatically if the Andrew scandal is extended. The British public are unlikely to really feel almost a lot sympathy for him as they do the Queen. In any case, there will likely be a variety of strain for Andrew to achieve a settlement in order that this scandal can begin to be buried by the palace PR machine.


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