Being the ruling family doesn’t necessarily mean that your subjects are likely to like you. This is most certainly the case when it comes to the Windsor’s. Since the Queen came to the throne in 1952 they have had their fair share of PR disasters which have needed a lot of ‘fixing’. Most recently they have jumped on the Instagram band wagon and have embraced the platform in all its glory.
While I’m sure the Queen is not sitting in the throne room, with her IPhone 11, checking to see which filter makes her diamonds sparkle the most, her PR team work incredibly hard in making the Royal family more likeable and more ‘commoner friendly’. Their PR strategy from the outside seems to be quite simple – be transparent. There is little we don’t know about what is going on in the lives of the Senior Royals, these are the ones which we know as full time royals who don’t have other jobs. Daily we see posts and stories about engagements they have taken part in, simple measures like this ensure that we, as normal people, see the royals out and making an effort to highlight causes and to use their status to make a difference.
Gone are the days where an engagement was only in the media if the newspapers covered it in their pages. Now lesser known organisation is getting exposure to a following in excess of 8.2 million people. Philanthropist projects are often intertwined with personal announcement with births, marriages and condolence remarks made on Instagram meaning instant and widespread acknowledgement of personal changes in their lives.
While the posts they make are not generally remarkable, they aren’t full of fancy graphics, or their stories aren’t heavily edited but extremely candid and make use of the fact that Instagram is instead a tool for the public to look in to the lives of the higher class and to feel a part of that in ways in which they haven’t done before.
Given the recent scandals facing members of the royal family having a strong following amassed across social media and being able to be honest and frank with them is going to be especially important for the new era of the monarchy and how they are perceived in future generations. It is not enough for the members of the royal family to be respected by the public purely because they were born royal, or that they married royal anymore. The image which the public has of them makes a huge difference as to how they are perceived. The perfect example of this is Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Up until 18 months ago she was in many ways a minor cog in the huge machine that is royalty and has won the hearts of the public and has been seen to be upping her workload with ‘The Firm’ and being down to earth with the causes and the people she meets.
They have mastered Instagram, writing their own book on what the world sees rather than what the mass media chooses to print. Will we see the Royal Coat of Arms on a TikTok profile next?
Niamh Magee is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter and Linkedin