Duana’s already written about the excellent work that went into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby naming. Let’s now talk about the excellent work that has been this entire baby rollout.
Archie’s premiere has been masterful public relations from someone who clearly has great PR game. On Monday they confirmed that she’d gone into labour, an hour later they confirmed that it was a boy – on Instagram, of course, with a poster and an exclamation point. At the time, I told you my theory, that probably when the labour announcement was made, the baby had already been born, and they were able to make sure all leaks were contained, giving them time to put the final touches on the visual assets, before hitting “post” on IG:
That colour, by the way? Can we start calling it Sussex blue? That’s the colour they’ve used for all their poster posts on Instagram, including their first post:
This is work, too. Any graphic artist and/or brand expert will tell you the importance of consistency, of establishing a signature, to strengthen the brand. Conveniently it worked out that the baby is a boy – understanding, of course, that we are trying to move past the “blue is for boy” and “pink is for girl” thing, still, given that socially people undeniably associate those colours that way, that too ended up being a happy accident.
From there, it was a one day break, to allow for all the Met Gala frenzy to subside. And then…today, today is where we see Meghan’s strength and strategy around this rollout come into focus.
We begin with the photo call, satisfying everyone’s desire to see them, all three of them, together for the first time. At Windsor Castle, where they were married almost a year ago, where they had their wedding reception. In recent weeks, there’s been much discussion and debate about their decision to not pose with the baby outside of the hospital, like William and Kate before them, and Charles and Diana before them. But look at what we ended up with – Harry and Meghan and Archie got a MUCH better shot, a much prettier photo. You might say a much more “Instagram-friendly” photo:
The photo was taken by Chris Allerton. You know what other photo he took? This one:
Put a pin in that, we’ll come back to it later.
For now, let’s go back to the rollout and the timing. Remember, Harry and Meghan did not reveal Archie’s name at the photo call. They let us sit with that for a few hours, to let it breathe, to give the moment its due. And to build the hype. Then, once again on Instagram…the main event, the mic drop, what we were thinking would happen, but even better, even more unexpected – they gave us not just the name, but the picture to go with it, and the people in the picture to go with it:
Think about the importance of this photo. Harry and Meghan let us see the moment, the very moment, Archie met his great-grandmother, the Queen of England, and his great-grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh whose last name is part of his name. That’s history. It is one of The.Most.Exclusive royal photos we’ve ever seen when you consider that “exclusive”, where royals are concerned, are the most private scenes.
And yes – it was PLANNED.
Because note the photo credit, once again, on that shot: Chris Allerton. They secured his services for this day and, as you would expect, they would have had to pre-clear this photo, the taking of this photo, with Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, with her directly. The Queen AGREED to this photo and the sharing of it. She could have said no, she’s the Queen after all. The fact that we’re looking at this means the Queen wanted to be there, wanted to participate, and wanted us to see it, wanted to share this moment too.
So, you see, this photo, this announcement, is accomplishing several things at once: it’s whipping everyone into a royal baby frenzy about the name, it’s increasing the Sussex’s popularity, AND it’s a clapback. Oh… you don’t think the Queen likes me? All those rumours about her being fed up with me?
Well. She just let us have a professional photographer present to document the moment the Queen met Archie ON THE SAME DAY she met Archie, with her mother, Doria Ragland, present to complete the happy, inclusive family message – AND she let us broadcast it around the world. How do you like them apples?
It’s work porn. It’s exhilarating work porn. It’s Jedi-level PR.
This is what someone with celebrity training brings to the table. This is how someone with an understanding of media and image-making can elevate an occasion that was already going to be a big deal into a smash hit. Now…how does the rest of the family keep up?