Pizza express? A great place for an alibi.

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Last week in the news was a certain member of the British Royal family, ohh yes, you’ve guessed it. It was Prince Andrew and he has had an absolute PR nightmare this week because of his relationship with convicted Human trafficker and sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein. Once I heard he was voluntarily doing this interview I couldn’t actually get my head around it, Epstein has been dead for months and there was no noise at all from the Windsor’s no communication on the issue at all. What on earth made the Royal family who I would assume have a strict communication policy actually allow this to happen? I’m very sure an inquest into this will be held and someone will be held responsible.

The interview itself was one of the most uncomfortable and awkward things I’ve ever watched. Prince Andrew himself did not seem at all comfortable with the discussion as a whole. Surprisingly most of Prince Andrews Public relations advisers wanted him too to do the interview, however only one advisor Jason Stein was against the idea. Stein had previously been special advisor or “Spin doctor” to Amber Rudd and left the role by mutual consent because he knew how much of a backlash the Prince would face from the interview and he was correct.

The interview took place on BBC Newsnight and was approved by the Queen, every answer Prince Andrew gave seemed like even he doubted them. The reason for the interview was a picture of Prince Andrew with one of Epstein’s sexual slaves Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, she was a young woman who had been trafficked by Epstein and remained a slave. She stated that she danced with a sweaty prince Andrew and that they had sexual relations something he strongly denies. The answer Prince Andrew gave was the strangest response I’ve ever heard to a sexual allegation “I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when I was shot at and I simply… it was almost impossible for me to sweat.” He did not actually deny the allegation of sexual abuse but said he didn’t sweat instead, he did not have to worry because he had half the nation sweating for him.

He also stated that he had an alibi for the date that Virginia Roberts-Giuffre stated that they had sexual relations “I was with the children and I’d taken [daughter Princess] Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon.”.When asked by the BBC why he would remember a meal at Pizza Express 18 years later, he said: “Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do.” I think remembering taking your daughter for a party 18 years ago is most unusual thing, how could anyone physically remember this event, but I suppose Pizza express is as good as place for an alibi as any.

Once he had denied all of this there’s still the question of the picture of himself and Virginia Roberts-Giuffre together smiling while he has his arm around her waist, and it looks like a perfectly normal photo until you release the context. Of course, this was the response by Prince Andrew “Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken” from this I don’t think he can prove it’s a doctored photograph and not remembering something does not mean it didn’t happen. Who ever is advising on the wording of his script definitely did not read over it again. When asked about his hand around the young woman’s waist he stated “I am not one to, as it were, hug, and public displays of affection are not something that I do… I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested. “He also added: “That’s me but whether that’s my hand or whether that’s the position I… but I don’t… I have simply no recollection of the photograph ever being taken”. At this point he seemed nervous by the questions and he actually stammered as you can see in the quotes, he wasn’t even convinced by the story himself. If you’re going to lie at least be confident about it, the entire episode reminds me of the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky case and unlike Bill who just simply point blank lied. Andrew has confused himself and his story during the interview and has not cleared a thing up in my opinion.

He did not even express regret or apologies to the victims of his billionaire friend Epstein instead he said, “The people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.” If this interviews purpose was to create a more positive public image of Prince Andrew and to repair the damage that his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein caused, it has done the complete opposite of this desired effect and quiet simply been a PR meltdown that the Prince may never recover from.

 

Jordan Arthur is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/jordan-arthur-864694173 and Facebook – facebook.com/jordanarthur.71 

A Series of Unfortunate Events ft. Meghan Markle

Words I associate with a Princess;

‘compassionate’, ‘selfless’, ‘humble’

Words associated with Meghan Markle;

fake’, ‘hypocrite’, ‘manipulating monster’

I might be basing my associations off the entire range of Disney princess movies but we all know these malicious words should not define a member of the Royal family. These are only a few of the negative comments that circulate the internet and feature in the news headlines when you come across reports on the Duchess. Meghan Markle has fallen victim to an endless amount of mistreatment since she started dating Prince Harry in 2016. Upon scanning the internet, I even found that a rather infuriated member of the public who quite clearly has it in for Meghan, has taken to Urban Dictionary and coined the term ‘Markled’, defining her as; ‘someone who ghosts you once you have no more benefit’ I mean, come on? This girl doesn’t even know her! And it doesn’t end there.

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Meghan%20Markle

As you would expect, becoming a royal family member makes you vulnerable to heightened publicity and speculation. However, Meghan was already used to the fame having left behind her career in acting and being notorious for her role as Rachel Zane on Suits. Watching her go from the fictional role of lawyer to embracing the doors of Kensington Palace holding the title of ‘Princess’ in real life, I have to admit, it was strange but remarkable at the same time.

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It’s no surprise when you pop onto the news you will see Meghan Markle appear under ‘trending’ or latest stories. Whether it is discussing serious recent affairs or that she managed to shut the car door by herself (You’re doing amazing sweetie!) you’ll read it all. Tabloids take advantage of her background, race and personality to relentlessly bully her, sharing inaccurate information and feral commentary, disregarding all human costs. She faces immense scrutiny all the time. Does she deserve this? No human being does. What would the media talk about if Harry and Meghan never met?

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In the latest episode of the Markle dramas, Meghan is in the process of suing the publisher of Mail On Sunday for publishing a handwritten letter she had sent to her estranged father. With the endless propaganda she has faced over the past three years, I don’t blame her. There is only so much a person can deal with when continually being attacked by powerful forces.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/oct/01/meghan-sues-mail-on-sunday-for-publishing-letter-to-her-father

Harry spoke out about the recent actions-sharing on behalf of Meghan and himself; “There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been.” The hurt and anger transmit out of Harry’s words, only making you sympathise with their suffering and understanding why they are taking this action. As many of you would probably agree, the media’s main focus should turn to Prince Andrew, but hey that’s a raunchy topic for another day!

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The majority of backlash comes from people who have never known Meghan on a personal level. A recent release of a trailer from 60 minutes Australia features Katie Hopkins who embraces the nickname ‘Biggest B*tch in Britain’ (wouldn’t be wrong there), she is a woman who is unquestionably racist and xenophobic. Katie is someone who is not afraid to share her honest opinions and does not take into consideration feelings, causing quite a lot of controversy. In this documentary she completely degrades Meghan; “Meghan Markle is the biggest hypocrite there is”, “Abdicate. Off you go” and “a nobody” who “wears bad clothes”. Who goes so low as to criticise somebody’s clothing style? Her insensitivity is perhaps what continues to get her work in the industry but anything that escapes from her mouth should be dismissed.

Meghan only tries her best in being a humanitarian, shining an important light on many issues from gender violence to poverty and education. Recent events show the Duke and Duchess’ tour to Africa undertaking a series of public engagements. From meeting female leaders in South Africa, tackling violence against women, visiting Bishop Desmond Tutu and paying tributes to Uyinene Mrwetyana. For years she has been an advocate for women and girls’ rights-an incredibly powerful movement to be a part of and something that should be associated with the Princess opposed to the unpleasant hatred she receives.

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Meghan is the also the subject of frequent conspiracy-led and racist attacks on social media sites. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram host multiple accounts which are dedicated to sharing abusive theories about Meghan, including speculation her pregnancy is faked. Even in times when she is displaying her selflessness and caring nature it only attracts more backlash from the public. On her visit to One25 – a sex worker charity, Meghan used bananas to write thoughtful messages; ‘You are strong’, ‘You are special’. However it was only used as ammunition by internet trolls for racist tweets who devised the term “banana baroness”. One Twitter account in particular uses a photo shopped image of Meghan eating a banana as its icon.

https://news.sky.com/story/trolling-of-meghan-how-duchess-is-abused-over-race-and-pregnancy-11696606

Despite attacks like these Meghan still remains to glow, clearly she is a strong individual. The hatred she receives from trolls hidden behind computer screens is disgusting, something I, personally would not be able to deal with. It is unprecedented to anything that I’ve ever seen before – fuelled by racism and negative media coverage-unfortunately it does not appear to be stopping any time soon. So much for her fairy-tale ending.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Visit South Africa

 

Fionnuala Hegarty is a Bsc Communication Management and PR Student at Ulster University and can be found at: Twitter -@fionnualaheg ; LinkedIn -https://www.linkedin.com/in/fionnuala-hegarty-108127160/ ; and Instagram -https://www.instagram.com/fionnualahegarty/

 

 

The Real Housewives of Kensington

The Real Housewives of Kensington

When the recent news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be moving out of Kensington Palace to live at Frogmore Cottage broke, speculation around the move also broke with it. Was this really such a shocking announcement for someone who (with every royal baby birth) has moved further and further down the line of succession? Was this really out of nature for a couple who have been known to break royal protocol? Was this unreasonable given that Harry and Meghan are about to start their own family? Or was there trouble brewing between the brothers?

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Unsurprisingly, the first point of call for the media was to point fingers at Prince Harry’s new wife Meghan as the reason behind the move. Anonymous sources from within Kensington Palace claimed that there ‘had been some tension’ between Meghan and her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, claiming that there was a clashing between the ladies at a dress fitting prior to the royal wedding, in which Meghan reduced Kate to tears. Another source also claimed that Kate was said to have complained about Meghan being needlessly nasty to a royal member of staff, which had left both Meghan and Harry less than pleased.

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Whether these allegations are true or not, they were the golden nuggets of information that the press have been waiting for for months. Despite the Daily Mail reporting back in July that the Duchesses were ‘best friends’ as they enjoyed a day at Wimbledon together, as the narrative surrounding Meghan began to change it seemed only fitting that they throw in a classic girl on girl cat-fight. It’s almost as if these two beautiful, intelligent and stylish women couldn’t possibly be friends – they must be in competition with each other?! With magazines and newspapers running features that ask us ‘who wore it best?’ the desire to create a competition between the two Duchesses has always been there. The Sun have even recently reported on this rumoured conflict between the two with the headline: “Why it’s no surprise sexual Meghan Markle and introvert Kate Middleton are having a royal rift”.

Whilst I am under no illusion that these two spend evenings in Kensington braiding each other’s hair and watching chick-flicks, I do take issue in the way in which the media can only accept women being the best of friends or mortal enemies. There is apparently no room for the in-between. Ask yourself- how many times have you read a news story that depicts a potential feud between two men? Or a feature that asks you whether Prince Charles or Prince Andrew ‘wore it better’?

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It seems that seeing two women go head to head has been one of society’s oldest and most voyeuristic past-times, which has become even more popular in the modern world, with reports of spats between The Spice Girls (the very ones who coined the phrase ‘girl power’), shade being thrown between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B and the entire Real Housewives franchise running on the occurrence of female feuds.

But these aren’t two popstars throwing shoes at an awards show. These are women from two very different backgrounds who have both found themselves center-stage in one of the most famous families in the world. Most people struggle to get through Christmas with their in-laws, yet the slightest hint of tension between sister-in-laws who live and work together seems out of the ordinary?

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Understandably, stories like these sell. I for one, have probably generated most of the clicks on each website’s version of events regarding Kate and Meghan. But the underlying issue remains that reporting on alleged feuds between women breeds a culture of resentment and competition rather than what women today everywhere actually need from eachother; empowerment and support.  As readers, we can do better than falling for the same, tired-out trap of assuming that women are nothing but evil, jealous individuals who all want to be Queen Bee and are willing to tear each other down in the process. We can do so much better.

Lucy Sempey is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @LucySempey ; LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucy-sempey-482ab9130/

Is Queen Elizabeth II the Top PR Official in England?

Queen Elizabeth II is the current Head of State for the United Kingdom, however, she holds no political or executive power in her own government.  The Prime Minister holds the powers of government, while the Queen simply “…undertakes constitutional and representational duties ….”  Therefore, Queen Elizabeth II acts to connect government with its constituents by focusing on “…national identity, unity, and pride….”  With Queen Elizabeth’s success of connection between the two parties, the populous is given “…a sense of stability and continuity.…”  With limitations on the monarch’s power by the Bill of Rights and other legislation post-civil war, the office has evolved over time into one of internal and public relations.

What do her duties entail?

The Queen often travels throughout the Commonwealth, visiting, observing, and listening to Her Majesty’s people, their needs, desires, and opinions.  The Queen recently traveled to West Sussex where Her Majesty visited a charity called Canine Partners, which focuses on canine training for puppies, service animals, and works with other charities. As shown in the picture above, Her Majesty is observing a puppy training class. After which, Her Majesty went to visit Chichester Festival Theatre, which is “…one of the UK’s flagship theatres, renowned for the high standard of its productions as well as its work with the community and young people.”

The Queen contributes, participates, and visits numerous charities, philanthropies, and organizations which help develop, better, and revolutionize the United Kingdom politically, socially, and economically. These duties prescribed to the office of Queen are extremely important to maintain peace, security, normalcy, and tradition.

PR Scandal that affected the Monarchy royally….

The Royal Family is not perfect. They have had several scandals, including divorce, abdication, and treason. They have gracefully, humbly, and successfully recovered from all despite the effects. Former King Edward VIII married an American woman with no title, no money, and no position in society and who was a divorcee. This was viewed as an error in judgment by the King, which would come full circle as it inspired him to abdicate the throne just as tensions were rising in Europe before World War II. As was later discovered, this would not be the only “error in judgment” made by King Edward. After World War II, a series of documents was published proving his relations, support, and actions to be pro-Nazi, pro-Hitler, and pro-Aryan. The Marburg Files would further tarnish the shine of the Crown, with attributes of treason.  Such attributes, however, did not hinder the Royals in their role in the United Kingdom.

Will the Monarchy survive?

Despite the actual importance, the Monarchy of England is viewed as simply an office of service between the government and the people. The Monarch is now a marionette that is used to benefit the Commonwealth and ensure its survival. Additionally, the Queen has successfully conveyed a recent history of prosperity, unity, and peace, which has willed the people of the world to fall in love with the Royal Family and their every move, causing them to be revered more as celebrities than as heads of state. Therefore, I do personally believe that the monarchy will survive if they can continue to deepen, personalize, and romanticize their relations with the public. With their success in this, they will forever rule as the Head of State, Queen/King, and the biggest Public Relations Officer in the United Kingdom.

 

Emily Williard is an exchange student, currently studying public relations at Ulster University, as part of her degree in Public Relations at Appalachian State University in the US. She can be contacted on Instagram at emilee_5 or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-williard-0196a4151.

She’s Making a List, and Checking it Twice: Meghan Markle to Spend Christmas With Royal Family

Breaking a longstanding tradition that came to underscore the strict nature of the royal family, Meghan Markle, the soon-to-be newest addition to the royal family, is having Christmas her way this year. As the fiancée to Prince Harry, Markle wouldn’t normally be extended an invitation to Christmas with the family. Reserved for married individuals only, the royal Christmas is only open to insiders – and of course, Santa.

However, Markle will become the first royal fiancé to celebrate the holiday with them, regardless of what Queen Elizabeth II has to say about it. Buckingham Palace better buckle up for the exuberant and American ride that is coming with charming American actress, Meghan Markle.

Christmas Day

Markle will join the Queen and her family for the congregation morning service at St. Mary Magdalene Church at the private Sandringham estate in Norfolk. Although no one is quite sure how accepting of this decision the Queen is at this time, Prince Harry doesn’t seem to care. The press considers it a signal as to how successfully Markle has been welcomed into the royal family already. As many are saying: it’s a Christmas miracle!

After being a popular bachelor for the majority of his 20s, Prince Harry has finally found love in the enchanting Meghan Markle. The two announced their engagement on November 207, 2017, later appearing in a BBC interview. Markle confirmed she has already met the Queen as well as the other members of the royal family, citing their grace and acceptance to the interviewer. Markle went onto say, “It’s incredible to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother.”

Markle has been a hot topic in the media lately as she is most notably American. As a mixed-race American divorcée, Markle manages to check-off all of the shocking boxes when it comes to predictability with the royal family. Markle will be the first divorced American to marry into the royal family, and will join Harry’s loved ones from Christmas Eve until UK’s Boxing Day.

Hopefully, Markle won’t be getting any coal in her stocking as the royal family is famously noted for their historic marriage traditions. Despite their reputation, however, their acceptance for Markle to join them at Christmas time does indeed confirm how happy they are to welcome her into the official family this spring.

 

After Christmas, sources have reported that Prince Harry is joining Markle to California, where he will spend the holiday with Markle’s mother and relatives.

The palace will not confirm any other details, including where Markle will stay at this time. It has been suggested that Prince Wililam, 35, and Kate Middleton, 35, will host them at Anmer Hall, which is on the estate and just 2-miles from the main house. Upon arrival, Markle is expected to bring along non-expensive, humble gifts on Christmas Eve, when presents are laid out on long tables.

More excitingly, she will get to watch her fiancée and William play football in the annual charity match, which puts workers at the estate in Norfolk against villagers from nearby Castle Rising. The day after Christmas will see Markle taking part in pheasants shoots, classic traditions that have been with the royal family since the beginning of time.

New Royal Era

Markle’s prominence and control over her engagement to Prince Harry is undoubtedly ushering in a new era of royalty in England, transferring power to the women of the group. Smashing down historic barriers, Markle is setting a precedent that will change the family forever, and they seem to be accepting of it. As a heavily Christian nation that adores the Christmas holiday, it’s a big deal for the royal family to welcome in a non-married member. Plus, Markle gets to see the extravagant gifts and meals that are afforded to the members of the adored British elite.

Markle has stated that although the Queen absolutely adores Prince Harry, she has faith in the acceptance of the royal family, soon to be her real family moving forward.

What do you think of this breaking of tradition for Meghan Markle?

 

Nicole Devlin is a final year Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-devlin-29342364/