Harry’s ‘war’ on royals sees Brits rally around Firm, PR guru claims

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Prince Harry’s “war” on the Royal Family has seen Brits rally around the Firm, a PR guru has claimed. Go Up CEO Edward Coram James, a PR and reputation crisis management expert, called the Duke of Sussex’s attempts to create a positive image for himself “very, very, very poor indeed”. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Coram James noted that if Harry’s team decided that the goal was to sell a lot of copies and increase the viewership of the Netflix series, “then he smashed it out of the park”.

However, the CEO argued if “his brief was image rehabilitation, then it is probably the worst example of this that I have ever seen”.

According to a YouGov survey conducted after the release of ‘Spare’ on January 10, the father-of-two has seen his popularity among Brits plummet to its lowest level ever.

The opinion poll found that only 24 percent of people have a positive view of the royal, whereas 68 percent view him negatively.

Prince Harry has seen his approval rating drop by six points in a week, with 41 percent of those polled believing the 38-year-old’s motivation for the book was money, and only 21 percent accepting that it was to tell his side of the story.

Meanwhile, it appears that Buckingham Palace can breathe a sigh of relief as the poll confirmed that approval ratings for King Charles and Prince William have increased, with Queen Camilla’s only dipping slightly.

The results of the poll appear to reaffirm Mr Coram James’ assertion that goes against the notion that the memoir’s revelations have caused the worst crisis for the monarchy in 30 years.

The Go Up CEO told Express.co.uk that while the royals “will have certainly been bracing for that”, many of the revelations are just “embarrassing and the Palace, like anyone, will always be nervous about headlines a press narrative they can’t control”.

The PR guru continued: “But this hasn’t been anything close to the Prince Andrew allegations, this hasn’t been anything close to the Fergie affair, the Diana and Charles affairs, it hasn’t been close to that.”

He added: “I think when it is all done, the Royal Family, if anything, I would expect to see, certainly domestically, a big popularity boost as a sort of rally around the flag effect.

“The one thing that Harry and Meghan have been incredibly successful at is, domestically speaking at least, getting a huge amount of support for the Royal Family.”

The PR guru praised the royals for sticking to their mantra of ‘never complain, never explain’ as “the only thing that they could do to give this more oxygen is to start making statements”.

The reputational management expert was also left “surprised” by the approach taken by the Sussexes and suggested that Harry could have instead chosen to “focus squarely on the press”, which would have boosted his reputation and received sympathy from the public.

The Prince has discussed his hatred of the tabloid press in numerous interviews, his Netflix docuseries and in ‘Spare’.

In his interview on ITV with Tom Bradby, Harry alleged the press was against him and his wife from the get-go, while also accusing royal press officers of leaking and planting stories about the Sussexes in order to build up the reputations of other royals.

In his memoir, the Duke even accused his stepmother Queen Camilla of leaking stories to the press in order to bolster her own image when she entered the Royal Family.

Despite his feelings about the relationship the royals have with the press, Mr Coram James said that Harry’s memoir and interviews created a double standard which saw him become “the most high-profile leak at Buckingham Palace right now”.

He noted that if Harry had purely attacked the press, he would have received a much better reaction from the public, who “are very open to the idea that the British press can cause serious problems to their targets”, especially following events such as the Leveson inquiry and the HackedOff Campaign.

Coram James added: “If you build a narrative of a war hero having to run away from a press who he feels has killed his mum or helped to kill his mum, and who has hounded him his whole life and now he thinks is hounding his wife, you could create a very easy hero/villain narrative and rehabilitate his image.”

But the Prince instead decided to “muddy the water” by going after his family, which backfired publicly and saw the PR expert advise that if this was the decided route to take then “you have to tow a consistent line”.

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He added: “[Harry’s] biggest problem is that he has made a number of very loud accusations that he appears to, at exactly the same time as making those accusations, create a double standard.

“He complains about leaks from the Palace while he goes into great detail about some very intimate scenes happening behind closed doors at the Palace involving people other than himself.

“Basically, he is the most high-profile leak at Buckingham Palace right now.”

Mr Coram James continued: “He talks about the privacy of his children being paramount to him, and yet in his book, he discusses personal things to do with the children of his brother.

“He says that he wants peace while he goes to war. He says he wants reconciliation while he attacks.

“He makes it look much less to do with reconciliation and much more to do with revenge.”

According to the expert, the only option left for the Duke, from a PR and reputational crisis point of view, is to “take a very significant change of direction”, in which he backs up his claim that he desires “a peaceful life” by returning to Montecito and quieting down while working on issues close to his heart.

“If he can do that and not make a great amount of noise about it, then the press will start to right itself around it and in two, three, four years he can maybe look again at another reputation campaign.”

He concluded, however, that Harry’s public image is “unfixable in the short-term, [because] he has caused too much damage”.

Express.co.uk has approached the Duke of Sussex for comment.

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