Earlier this week, we learned that Prince Charles will be taking an increased number of responsibilities from his mother, the Queen, as the transition to Charles's reign begins. As part of this shift, it was revealed that the Queen would no longer maintain her own press office; instead, her press operations will be folded into Charles and Camilla's, with the Queen's P.R. being handled by "one of Prince Charles's key personnel from a central office at Buckingham Palace." None of this seemed particularly unexpected (the Queen is 87, after all), though it may have struck some as a bit melancholy, in a "Cat's in the Cradle" sort of way.
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Today, however, brings a report from the Daily Beast that Charles is now going to be absorbing Kate Middleton and Prince William's press office, as well. The impetus? "The move is believed to have been instigated by Prince Charles . . . as part of a drive to refocus the attention of the U.K. on serious and worthy issues such as the environment, nature, and architecture, discussion of which he wants to promote during his kingship . . . in his attempts to shift the national discussion away from Kate Middleton's clothing choices and onto his more weighty pet subjects," the Daily Beast reports. He is "known to be concerned that the image of the glamorous young royals is in danger of completely eclipsing the serious work of both the younger and more senior royals, and is frustrated . . . that royal gossip-especially when it concerns the younger and more good looking members of the royal cast-receive global coverage while their serious labor on behalf of difficult causes often goes unremarked, except by local news outlets."
This seems like a power play right out of Game of Thrones, or like if Tina Knowles or Tish Cyrus decided to quash Beyoncé or Miley's press machines, taking control of them to advance their own agendas.
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Kate and William (and Harry) had set up their own press office last year in advance of the birth of Prince George to handle all the media attention surrounding the arrival of the royal baby. But Charles's decision could mean that Kate, William, and Harry will "lose much of their media autonomy" as their press representatives will now have to report to a member of Charles's camp. Furthermore, the Daily Beast suggests that the move "represents a significant blow to the young royals' power base, and will be read as a sign that, during the reign of King Charles, he very much means to be a traditional king, in charge of all royal activities, in stark contrast to the Queen, who allowed her family members great independence." A "senior courtier" verified to the outlet that this consolidation of press teams would be taking place, in an effort to "better coordinate the communication of the Royal family," and said an official announcement would be made imminently.
Will Charles's maneuever actually change the way people write and talk about the royals? Will we all stop caring about Kate's hair and Harry's beard and Eugenie's adventures in New York? It seems, well, unlikely. People are far more interested in the younger royals than they are in Charles or Camilla. (A Google search for "Prince Charles" yields 3,550,000 results; one for "Kate Middleton" delivers 12,800,000. Prince William? Not too shabby, either, at 6,960,000.) Making information about Kate, Will, and Harry less accessible-or warping it to suit some kind of Charles' Causes Filter-seems unlikely to change the curiosities, wants, and desires of a populace. As long as Kate Middleton is wearing clothes, the world will want to see them.