Prince of Wales “Momentary Lapse”

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Just catching some of the TV coverage of today’s marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, I saw a brief BBC TV interview with the Prince’s communications secretary, Paddy Harverson.

Amongst the tame chit-chat about today’s event (eg, was the Prince feeling nervous and how many letters of support there have been from the public) came an interesting comment regarding the Prince and a press photo call last month.

The Prince and his two sons took the photo call while on holiday in Switzerland. Posing at the resort of Klosters, an ill-at-ease Prince muttered, “Bloody people. I can’t bear them” in reference to the assembled press photographers and reporters, which was picked up by microphones. He also muttered, “I can’t bear that man. I mean, he’s so awful, he really is” in reference to BBC reporter Nicholas Witchell.

I remember thinking when I saw the broadcast: I bet the communication people will be cringing about this! It is bound to be spread across all the papers the next day (it was), presenting yet another potential PR headache for the royal communicators. It’s not really much different from a commercial scenario – you organize the event and your client spokesman royally (pun wholly intended) screws it up in some way.

So the interesting comment from Harverson in today’s BBC TV interview was his reference to that event by saying the Prince had a “momentary lapse.” He said it with a broad smile on his lips, but that smile didn’t touch his eyes.

Probably all he could say publicly, really.

I wonder what he’s thinking about Prince Charles’ latest gaffe – shaking hands with Robert Mugabe at the Pope’s funeral yesterday.

See also: Royal wedding press pack (PDF).

Neville Hobson is the author of the popular NevilleHobson.com blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: NevilleHobson.com.

Prince of Wales “Momentary Lapse”
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