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bitchy | Scobie: Duchess Camilla is popular with royal reporters, less so with the public


In the past, I’ve expressed something along the lines of “appreciation for” or “enjoyment of” the Duchess of Cornwall. It’s true, she seems like she would be a lot of fun at certain parties, I appreciate the fact that she isn’t Botoxed to hell, and I even like her older-lady style these days. But her PR campaign this year has really grated on my last nerve. It’s very uncomfortable to watch her shrug off what she did to Princess Diana. It’s very uncomfortable to watch Camilla get everything she ever wanted while Diana never got to watch her sons become men. It’s also really obvious that the general public – especially the British public – is being force-fed a sugary narrative about Camilla, straight from a huge team of PR officials and a sycophantic royal media. Which brings me to Omid Scobie’s Yahoo UK column this week, where he analyzes how Camilla has spearheaded a twenty-year campaign to force the British public to accept her and like her. Some highlights:

Camilla is very popular within royal-media circles but: But outside of the bubble of the royal press, and away from staunch royalists, you’ll find a different story. Talk to straight-talking Brits and you’ll find the sentiment is mostly uninterested or turned off. Recent polls revealed that only 14% of Britons favour Prince Charles’ wife becoming Queen consort.

Camilla’s issues are not generational: While time has certainly helped move Camilla’s story on to what is now a life of service and royal duty, the story of her illicit affair with Prince Charles while Diana battled mental health demons during a miserable marriage still lingers for many. And it’s not as much of a generational thing as one might think. A scroll through royal TikTok shows that amongst younger Millennials and Gen-Z, feelings aren’t much different. Videos comparing Camilla’s life, fashion and legacy to that of Diana’s carry millions of views, all with overwhelming support for the late Princess of Wales.

The orchestrated PR push: That stark difference between press and public opinion is the result of a carefully orchestrated, behind-the-scenes PR push. Members of the royal family having their own go-to media allies is nothing new, but Camilla has put in more effort than any other when it comes to winning over the influential British press – even if it has meant keeping some of them extremely close. Media figures and outlets that have disrupted the lives of many other royals, from Diana and Prince Harry to even herself, have become allies of the duchess—including her close friendship with Piers Morgan and regular cooperative efforts with the Daily Mail.

Canny Camilla: As former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt put it best, “Camilla has been canny. She’s kept the media close and the Daily Mail even closer.” Words that seem even more apt now that she and Prince Charles have hired an editor from the tabloid to head up their media relations.

Camilla’s years of work: It is work that has been a long time in the making. “Operation PB” of the early noughties, which was led by the same man who turned David Beckham from a hate figure to a national hero, Paddy Harverson, was the first campaign to help Camilla shed her image in the press as Charles’ mistress and soften the nation’s negative feelings towards her. Their PR efforts were followed by a low-key 2005 wedding and hard work, with Camilla choosing to build an impressive royal resume. Over the years she has gone far beyond the “listen and learn” approach to charity adopted by some other royals and had a significant and positive impact on causes such as domestic violence, sexual abuse and literacy.

Final PR push: As she marks her 75th birthday this week, a final PR push before potentially facing the throne alongside Charles is now in full swing, with a major British Vogue photo shoot, a primetime all-access documentary on 13 July, and even a show of support from the Duchess of Cambridge, who photographed her step mother-in-law for Country Life magazine. New polling data this week shows that Camilla is now number eight on the list of most popular royals. Whether it’s enough to help her truly sway the majority opinion of the British public and beyond, remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure, she’s tried her damnedest.

[From Yahoo UK]

I think Scobie is right on the duality of Camilla and how she’s perceived. I can absolutely see how, one-on-one and in person, Camilla is probably one of the friendliest and most down-to-earth royals to journalists, to everyday people, to everyone. But I also think this late-stage push to get the British public to “accept” her has been a huge turn-off. Her Vogue interview left me feeling so depressed and left me thinking about Diana. The whole Country Life/ITV documentary thing just seems like such a blatant, aggressive double-standard considering how, you know, everyone freaked out when the Duchess of Sussex did something similar. I’m also offended by how obvious and inorganic this Operation Queen Camilla has been. It feels like Charles and Camilla have too much money and too little sense – not everyone is going to love your mistress as much as you do, Chuck.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.


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