For almost two weeks Australia has felt the full force of a royal charm offensive. The visit by the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, has been a triumph for the Royal couple and the House of Windsor brand.
“I think the marriage…has injected a real shot of adrenaline into people’s interest in the Royal Family.” Tabloid royal correspondent
It’s a world away from the scandalous 1990s when the Royal family was embroiled in a rolling series of crises, indiscretions and PR disasters leaving them out of fashion and out of step with the times. Some were even talking about the end of the monarchy itself.
“All bets were off with the Royals in the nineties. Spectacular own goals, things that 50 years earlier would have had discreet veils drawn over them: Camillagate, Squidgygate, Tampaxgate, all those terrible, terrible, gruesome little scandals.” Author
On Monday Four Corners charts how the Royals have rebuilt their reputation and changed the way they manage “The Firm”.
“From those ashes, a lot of lessons have been learned. There’s obviously had to be more deliberate management about how people behave, what they’re saying, what they’re wearing.” Global advertising consultant
“It was the Royal family accepting that things needed to change if they were to survive. Survival is the name of the game for the Royal family.” Author
“You don’t see it but… what we see and read about the Royal family is pretty much controlled by them.” Former Private Secretary to the Royal household
The Royals are increasingly bypassing traditional media and finding new ways to get their message out by joining the ranks of social media “influencers”. Those combined efforts have resulted in one of the most spectacular rebranding exercises in modern times.
“In many ways, they’ve brought innovation. They’re brand innovators to the Royal family.” Global advertising consultant
This new image has helped divert attention away from questions over the funding and financial interests of the Royal household.
“We don’t know where the money is invested. We don’t know where it’s spent. We don’t know what the income is. We only know what they tell us.” Former UK MP
As the palace prepares for the next generation to take the throne, Four Corners examines the very corporate campaign to future-proof the Crown.
Windsor Inc, reported by Louise Milligan and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 29th October at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 30th October at 1.00pm and Wednesday 31st at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
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