Prince William and Kate of House Cambridge made an announcement today:
We are so excited to visit Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas next month as we markÂ The Queen's Platinum Jubilee.Â— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) February 24, 2022
We canâ€™t wait to meet people in all three countries, celebrateÂ local cultures and understand more about innovativeÂ work being done across communities.Â W & C
Will and Kate’s trip to Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas is not a surprise. It’s been speculated for weeks that they’d be heading there in March. Today a full itinerary was released and you can read more about it here. This comes at the end of Kate’s two-day trip to Denmark on her own.
But, um, it’s an interesting time to confirm the tour, non?
Pretty sure we all know what the biggest headline around the world is right now: Russia invaded Ukraine, there’s a war happening and of course, that doesn’t mean everything has to stop, but my point is about public relations and communications strategy. Certainly there was always a plan to make this announcement today, right after Kate’s trip to Denmark, but the goal for PR and coms experts is to maximise the message, so they always have to consider last minute adjustments, depending on any given situation, and new developments that could affect them.
Why, then, given that the whole news cycle right now is being dominated by what’s happening in Ukraine and Russian aggression, did they decide to move ahead with the original game plan and release this today even though the announcement about the tour would not get nearly the same amount of play? This is the inside baseball of royal communications strategy I’m interested in.
Did they deliberately want a more muted response to the tour? Or did they think that the story would still make an impact even though the world is preoccupied with the situation in Ukraine? Was it even a consideration that maybe the news about Will and Kate going island hopping wouldn’t land all that positively on a day when geopolitics is severely destabilised and footage is being beamed around the world of families being torn apart and displaced?
I’m not saying the tour shouldn’t happen. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Tours are what royals do. My point is just about the timing and the work process behind the release today – because you know how the internet works and social media in particular. People have reactions, and those reactions can change depending on cultural, social, and political mood. It’s the responsibility of PR experts to assess that mood, to understand the conditions in which an announcement will be made. That’s why TV networks have, for example, pulled episodes that might coincidentally deal with fictional tragedies when similar tragedies have occurred in the real world.
Pretty sure most would agree that today isn’t the ideal day for the British royals to be talking about touring Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas. But they assessed it and determined that today was better than not. I guess they have their reasons. I’m so curious about what they are.