Sussexit is official. Prince Harry left England last week to rejoin Meghan Markle and Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor in Canada. There have been a few stories here and there are about how everyone is coping but, for the most part, the royal family is about moving forward and carrying on. Prince William and Kate hosted their first reception at Buckingham Palace last week. Kate launched her Five Big Questions initiative. And today, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust, Kensington Palace has released personal portraits she took of survivors and their families.
It’s a beautiful partnership that marries her love of photography with a greater message of remembrance and vigilance.
Here’s something though that came out this weekend that I’ve been thinking about. Because…it’s a little weird. Check out the Saturday cover of the Daily Mail:
There’s a calendar insert that came with the paper – “Kate’s Cuties 2020”, so if you want to, you can mark off the days of the year alongside the kids of House Cambridge. This is not my jam. But there are royalists out there who collect this sh-t. They’re the same people, probably, who camp out on the street for days outside the hospital before a royal birth.
Fine. But how did they license this photo?
This shot of Charlotte was taken in May 2019 at the Chelsea Flower Show, when Kate presented the garden and outdoor space she had designed. These are not paparazzi photos. An approved photographer was permitted to photograph the royal children in support of their mother’s initiative. And there were limits to how the images could be publicly used. Here are the guidelines:
The expiration on these photos was December 31, 2019. They were NOT to be used for advertising or marketing, or for souvenirs or memorabilia. This calendar would fall under the category of souvenirs and memorabilia. So for the Daily Mail to have been able to publish this calendar, they’re either in violation of copyright or … they requested special permission and were approved.
Probably they wouldn’t be violating copyright so flagrantly. So, presumably, they were authorised to use this photo of Charlotte, and other photos of the Cambridge children, by Kensington Palace. Now remember, the Cambridges have always been clear about their children not being exploited by the media. What’s going on here?
In addition – the Daily Mail is one of the publications being sued by House Sussex, Harry and Meghan, for their racist reporting and relentless attacks. If the Cambridges gave approval to the Daily Mail to use images of their children and encourage customers to BUY THEIR NEWSPAPER, what message is that sending? And what insight, if any, can we glean from it about the relationship between the Cambridges and the Sussexes, and their respective communications teams?