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There’s been an explosion of media attention surrounding the Royal Family with the birth of a new prince and the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Why are Australians so obsessed with royalty? Is it the glamorous lifestyle? Their rich traditions? Our history under British rule?
Professor Damien Kingsbury, director of the Master of International and Community Development at Deakin University, says their power lies in ‘strong and well developed public relations campaigns to make the Royal Family, especially its third generation, relevant and cool, while still pressing the buttons of traditionalists with lots of romance, weddings and baby news.’
The Royal Family’s image has been in tatters in the past, with reported Nazi connections, regular inappropriate comments from Prince Philip, and the unhappy marriages of Princess Diana and the Duchess of York spread across tabloids. But in recent times this image has been turned around with carefully staged ‘picture opportunities’ focusing on the shiny new generation of young royals.
‘This is done through allowing glimpses of what we believe it must be like to be a royal, playing to fairytale escapist ideas of princes and princesses,’ Prof. Kingsbury explains. ‘They try to ingratiate the Royal Family with very ordinary folk, both in the UK and loyal dominion countries such as Australia.’
Although it’s easy to be seduced by the fairytale, Prof. Kingsbury points out that ‘in reality, the UK Royal Family are a wholly owned tax-exempt corporation and exist in their status as a consequence of birth rather than proven merit.’
Whether you love the royals, or see them as irrelevant, our question is: how well do you know them? Take the quiz to find out.
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