PEOPLE put up an article yesterday about the “soft power” of House Cambridge’s Kate: her photography. A more accurate description would be the subjects of her photographs, which are her children. Citing royal historian Lucy Worsley:
“For 200 years the British monarchy has used photography,” she adds in a new BBC documentary Lucy Worsley's Royal Photo Album, which airs on PBS on August 16. “From creating a new sovereign to affairs of the heart, majestic moments to everyday life, when monarchy wants to send a message it uses a photograph.”
Worsley highlights this by profiling the way that key royals, including Prince Harry, Princess Diana, Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth, have used photographs to send a message to the world.
It is all part of the royal family’s “soft power," she says.
"You would think that the weapons of a king and queen were perhaps their armies or centuries of tradition but what they have is the power of the media,” Worsley tells PEOPLE. "The visual is almost more important than words because they don't have that many opportunities to speak.
“So, they have become very adept at using photo opportunities: dressing, body language, who they are photographed with — all that sort of thing — to express their influence. Because they don't have power, but they do have influence.”
Kate, though not royal by birth, has proven herself to be House Cambridge’s most valuable asset and quiet tactician. Photos of the Cambridge kids, beginning with Prince George, have become one of her favourite and most successful moves. And her photography happened before the Cambridges joined Instagram so in one sense, yes, she’s as “relatable” as any mom out there constantly documenting her children but at the same time, given that this started well before the Cambridges established their social media presence, there was never any sense that she was a follower. It was an organic extension.
That said, usually when we talk about people who put their kids on display as part of their image, it’s Hollywood, actors and singers, and the British royals are allegedly above that sh-t. Oh really? As Lucy Worsley has explained, the British royals have used photographs of themselves – and that includes the children, it’s a lot to do with the children – as their “soft power”. Our society is baby obsessed. And that obsession is next level when the babies have titles. Will and Kate are continuing that royal tradition. So for all the compliments they get (usually in comparison to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle these days) about how they’re not famewhores … as IF. They are ALL famewhores. Will, Kate, Harry, and Meghan, all of them. And even the Cambridges have taken to putting their kids out there for brand gain.
Here’s a recent example – and it’s not the first time. Check out the cover of the Daily Mail this past weekend, right up at the top:
Those photos of Big G and Charlotte are Cambridge copyright. You need special permission from Kensington Palace to be able to use them and, clearly, permission was granted to be published on a free insert with the purchase of a tabloid. So essentially they licenced their children’s images to be included in a magazine that will end up on coffee tables everywhere in English homes. Why? Why would they want their children to be exposed like that? You tell me.
Again, it’s a free insert with the Daily Mail. Not exactly upmarket. So for all the lauding of the Cambridges by the British tabloids that they’re the “classy” royals, elegant and sophisticated custodians of the royal standard, how does allowing the faces of their children to be splashed across the pages of a cheap weekend paper and then ending up as coasters for cups of tea, maybe even stained by the spilled tea, rank in terms of what one considers good taste?