On a strategic level, is he right to make this great media unpacking?

A new stone in the pond of the British monarchy! After his explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, a documentary series on Netflix in 2022, the prince harry decided to publish his memoirs, a book entitled Spare in original version, The Alternate in French, translated into 16 languages, expected in bookstores this Tuesday.

To promote and defend his book from California where he went into exile in 2020 with his wife Meghan, the Duke of Sussex gave two exclusive television interviews to the British channel ITV News and the American television group CBS, broadcast this Sunday.

The interview given to the American channel CBS on Sunday will be broadcast in France this Monday during a special edition of “19.45” presented by Xavier de Moulins, that granted to British television will be broadcast this Monday at 11:10 p.m. on TF1.

The autobiography of Prince Harry – second son of King Charles III, fifth in the order of succession – is already making headlines in the British press, even if the Spanish booksellers, who put them on the shelves “by mistake” The Alternate from January 5, shook up Prince Harry’s cleverly orchestrated communication plan.

Why expose yourself like this three years after distancing yourself from the British monarchy? What are these for? revenge interviews ? Is this the right communication strategy? The analysis of communication experts.

A successful promotional operation

“After 38 years of having my story told by so many people with intentional distortions and manipulations, it felt like the right time to reclaim my story and tell it myself,” Prince Harry explained on Sunday evening. on the British channel ITV.

Beyond these personal considerations, Prince Harry applies a “media strategy which develops in several phases”, notes Virginie Spies, lecturer at the University of Avignon, semiologist and analyst of the media and the press people.

Is Prince Harry right to indulge in this great unpacking? “It all depends on its initial objective. These interviews come just before the publication of his book. There is the commercial desire to agitate the media and create buzz. If his goal is to promote the release of his book, it’s a success, “says Gwendal Cosson, manager and multimedia communication consultant. Media Agency.

Above all, there is a lot of money at stake: between 20 and 25 million dollars in advance for the book, 100 million for the contract with netflix. “The Sussex couple is trying to become a brand,” explains Virginie Spies.

Prince Harry castigated by the British

Rivalry with his brother William, difficult relationship with Camilla, death of his mother Diana, etc. “By dropping this type of bomb, there will be an echo on other media and it will cause controversy on social networks. It’s a good time to have a good window of visibility for his book, ”says Gwendal Cosson. “Prince Harry has some pretty harsh words about his family. It may be a mistake, the future will tell, ”considers Virginie Spies.

Instead of rallying the British to their cause, the Sussex couple’s criticism of the abuses of the royal family mainly fuels their antipathy, according to polls conducted in the country. “Obviously, when you engage in such a communication campaign, you must also expect to have negative repercussions such as criticism”, analyzes Gwendal Cosson.

According to the YouGov survey carried out for the Conservative newspaper The Times, 44% of Britons would now like to see Harry permanently stripped of his titles (32% thinking the opposite). And according to this same survey, 23% of people questioned across the Channel declared have a less good image of the two lovebirds since the documentary series was released on Netflix, only 7% said they think the opposite. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex now only get 17% favorable opinion from the British public, compared to 44% for Kate and William.

While the British are suffering the full brunt of inflation, Prince Harry who positions himself as a victim and talks about his suffering, it does not pass cream. “He remains extremely privileged. His behavior offends and poses a problem for the English, ”notes Virginie Spies.

“From the moment he left British territory, he should have stopped the controversy and kept a low profile. It was not the choice that was made. When you leave a country and criticize it from the outside, you become a de facto adversary. We take a risk. If he had fought the fight in Britain, from within, it would have been different. He has been marginalized”, deciphers Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet, communication expert, co-founder and CEO of the executive communication consulting agency. MCBG Consulting.

The enfant terrible of the British monarchy

Faced with the attacks of his brother, Prince William, silent, is part of the tradition of never complain, never explain (“never complain, never explain”), in line with her grandmother the queen Elizabeth II and his father, the King Charles III. Prince Harry’s interviews are reminiscent of his mother’s shock interview Lady Diana, granted to the BBC on November 20, 1995. “He even uses elements of his mother’s language when explaining that he ‘suffered from his condition’. He plays the rebellious side. It’s as if everyone had taken a side of parenthood, ”notes Virginie Spies.

“We have a confrontation between the two brothers, between the spare part and the heir. The weight of the media outweighs the monarchical hierarchy,” remarks Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet. “Prince William respects the rules of the crown, with somewhat institutional press releases, Prince Harry uses the media as his mother Lady Diana did,” notes Gwendal Cosson.

“Prince William is going to be king, he stayed in Great Britain and embodies the institution, the other remains a marginal, a troublemaker. The British still have a fairly conservative view, so Harry’s behavior can only be shocking, ”adds Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet.

A monarchy not so threatened

After the revelations of his autobiography and the broadcast of the two interviews this Sunday, the British tabloids let go and saw anti-Sussex. “He is on a mission to destroy his family”, judge Russell Myers, “royal correspondent” at the DailyMirror. “Diana would have been horrified”, attacks the DailyMail. In the columns of the very serious Guardianthe biographer of King Charles III, Catherine Mayer, believes that the prince’s remarks could “mark the beginning of the end of the monarchy”.

This is a family crisis, not a constitutional crisis. “The crown of England has seen others! What is new is that the impact is even faster than before,” considers Virginie Spies.

Proof that the British crown still has soft power under its elbow: “It is at the heart of all media discourse in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is a gossip subject among gossips which interests a lot of people”, recalls the researcher.

Prince Harry therefore cannot afford to completely unbolt the institution. “If Prince Harry has the will to exist in the media over the long term, he has every interest in ensuring that the crown keeps its aura in the United Kingdom. If the crown collapses, he also loses, ”underlines Gwendal Cosson.

Prince Harry, however, has undermined the Windsors’ overall communication strategy. “It sounds like everything the British monarchy has been running away from for the past 20 years. They have professionalized their approach with centralization, maximum control and there, it completely escapes them, ”observes Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet. A small victory for Harry in this soap-like remake of Game Of Thrones.

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