Prince Harry is clearly doing a terrific job with the Invictus games – in all sorts of ways, not least by bringing modern, meaningful perspectives to the concept of Monarchy. As someone who has given the Royals a bit of stick in the past – in the 1980s I declared them ‘Britain’s Clumsiest Communicators’ and garnered a lot of self-publicity in the process – I find this particularly pleasing.
I have always believed that there is great potential for the ‘spare to the heir’ to engage people in ways what the heir themselves is constrained from doing. Happily, Harry appears to be succeeding in ways that we never saw with his Uncle Andrew or Great Aunt Margaret.
Sam Leith has picked up on Harry’s interview style in his Evening Standard column, noting that he refers to his fellow soldiers as ‘blokes’. He poses the thought ‘did Prince Harry calculate that “men” would sound too officer class, and that “chaps” would sound too posh?’
Now, I know that Leith has very specific expertise in this area and I might be being naïve, but is it too much to hope that Harry was simply being himself and letting his personal passions shine through? If he really ‘calculated’ that ‘blokes’ would hit the spot to best effect, then we have to start imagining that it was planning sessions between Radio 2 and Kensington Palace that led to him greeting Chris Evans with “Hello Ginge”. If that sort of thing is going on, then the whole thing is soon going to unravel.
I am just delighted that we have a bright, energised ‘spare to the heir’ who, having expressed his fear of public speaking little more than a year ago, is fast developing into a fine communicator.