The only way is Sussex. And so it should be!

Honest Communications, a specialist garden and home PR agency, social media management, content creation and communications agency

Unless you’ve been living on the moon (and even that might not be far enough removed), you won’t have been able to miss the stories about Harry and Meghan recently.

From a PR and communications perspective, the way it has been handled, and reported on, is fascinating. Harry and Meghan have chosen to step back from being senior members of the Royal family because of the way they have been treated and the pressure it is putting on their life. They’ve taken it into their own hands, and why shouldn’t they?

Let’s not forget, Harry did not choose this life. He didn’t go on the X Factor seeking fame and being hounded by the press, Dermot O’Leary didn’t interview him every Saturday night and he certainly didn’t go to Judges’ Houses with Gary Barlow (or not that we’ve been told about anyway). Harry was born into this life. And frankly, he’s had enough.

If the same press that had hounded your mother and contributed to her death, had turned on your wife and then relentlessly not backed off despite requests when you had a child, would you not do all you could to protect them? The warning signs were there. In a heart-breaking interview, Harry said “I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum”.

In the ITV programme last year, Meghan showed a young mother, miles away from her family having moved to the other side of the world to be with the man she loved, struggling to cope with motherhood and the abuse she was facing in the media. But this just opened her up to more criticism and accusations of faking it and putting on an act. She is, after all, an actress, and may well have been using these skills, but if she were then she would have been driven to doing so by the media. Can you ever imagine them asking if Kate Middleton were faking it if she had said the same thing?

Harry and Meghan played the media game, they gave them what they wanted but they weren’t treated fairly in return. The press decided that Meghan wasn’t good enough – she would never be Kate Middleton. The comparisons that have surfaced recently in the vastly contradictory portrayal of both of them have been shocking and sum up the whole situation. Ellie Hall at Buzzfeed did a fantastic article on this, highlighting the incredible bias and double standards of how “Over the years, Meghan has been shamed for the same things for which her sister-in-law, Kate, has been praised.” Even in this situation, Meghan, with the horrible #Megxit phrase, has been portrayed at the baddie, dragging Harry away, implying he hasn’t even had a say in the matter.








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The way Harry and Meghan made their announcement to step down from Royal duties gave them control of their situation perhaps for the first time – putting it out on their own Instagram profile and website, instead of the traditional Royal press channels. In writing this blog, I’ve found the website a great source of insight into the situation. The website hasn’t really been highlighted by the media (unsurprisingly). It responds to queries about funding and plans going forward including their new media strategy. They state that they will no longer participate in the traditional Royal Rota press system that grants exclusive access to a select group of UK outlets and instead will adopt a new, more diverse media approach. Again, why shouldn’t they?!

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Companies and brands no longer rely on a select pool of media. That might have been the old way, but modern PR and media relations goes way beyond “a little black book” and calling in favours (something we’ve previously written about), it’s about engaging with new writers, journalists, freelancers, influencers and up-and-coming outlets to give a wider engagement. Why limit yourself to a select handful? Particularly if those handful don’t treat you fairly.

Modern communications are evolving. In our hyper-connected and social media-driven times, news can no longer be as exclusive or controlled as in the past. Is it the media or the Royals (or both?) that need to refresh their approach to keep up with how the world has changed? Systems like the ‘Royal Rota’ are archaic and unfit for modern media. Similarly, traditional media needs to keep up too and this might be a fantastic lesson for them and be a sign of things starting to change.

A big learning here is the importance of a balanced, healthy relationship with the media which has to work both ways. That doesn’t just apply to Harry and Meghan – it’s relevant for all brands, companies and people trying to strategically communicate. However, healthy relationships take time to build and need nurturing, and they usually a plan and strategy behind them.

And, as a big Rachel Zane/Mike Ross/Harvey Spectre fan, if it means she wants to return to film Suits then I’m fine with that too…