Prince Charles has long been a champion for the environment, calling for climate conscientiousness long before it was a major headline. So the fact that the future king of England has written an essay calling on business leaders to be more responsible with the planet and our resources is not unexpected. The substance of his article has value – none of what he’s saying is wrong. You can read the piece here.
The focus, then, of this post is not about what he’s saying…but WHERE he’s saying it. Which is the Daily Mail. This is the first in line to the British throne publishing a very important essay about climate change in a tabloid newspaper – and it’s not like he doesn’t have options. Again, he’s the Prince of Wales. The Crown will be his. So this is not a person with 20 Twitter followers submitting an article to anyone who will take them. And still, the Daily Mail got the exclusive.
Putting aside the issue of his son, Prince Harry, and his daughter-in-law, and their lawsuit against this particular publication, and we’ll come back to that in a minute, why has Prince Charles chosen the Daily Mail, of all the other outlets he could have had access to, to place his appeal on behalf of the environment… to the private sector?!
If you are a royalist, and a pure optimist– and maybe a little bit delusional – you might argue that this is a case he’s taking to the regular citizens of his nation, his commoner subjects, meeting them where they live. Sure. I mean, he’s addressing world leaders and private sector executives, but fine. Maybe he’s counting on citizens and consumers to lobby their elected officials and the businesses they spend their money on. Because if he’s imploring private sector CEOs to change their mandates and put the planet before profits, is he counting on them to have a subscription to the Daily Mail, LOL?!
That’s a generous take on a bizarre decision, but even the most ardent monarchist may not be able to make excuses for writing an essay for the Daily f-cking Mail when you consider that this is a tabloid that has advanced climate change denial!
For over a decade, the Daily Mail has run articles that promote the “views of climate change sceptics”. The London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment called out the Daily Mail in 2018 for its irresponsible climate change coverage. And they did so again in 2019 after the Daily Mail published an “error-filled polemic by Dominic Lawson … which combined sneering criticism of the motives of the protestors with the bogus argument that climate change is good for the world”.
So why is Prince Charles, the royal crusader for climate change awareness, choosing to share his thoughts via the Daily Mail, a publication that at best has not been as engaged in promoting environmental responsibility as they could and at worst has contributed to climate change denial and has set back the movement?!
How is this a smart and sensible media decision!?!?
Why is royal communications strategy so f-cking bad?!
And to go back to Harry and Meghan… is this the Invisible Contract?
You’ll recall, Harry named it, said it out loud, during the Television Event of the Year with Oprah, before he and Meghan went on to describe the scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours relationship between the British tabloid press and the British royal family. Until then, it was verboten to acknowledge – but on the biggest stage, with the biggest ratings, Harry and Meghan called out the Invisible Contract. So how can we not think of the Invisible Contract now with Prince Charles’s essay in the Daily Mail?
Is there an exchange happening here? Is there a backroom handshake at play? If so, what’s the trade-off? And if this was your dad, working with a publication that’s repeatedly harassed you, and your wife, how would you feel?