Elle Magazine published an excellent interview with Omid Scobie this week, wherein he ended up spilling some interesting royal tea and media tea. Some of it is “how the sausage is made” when it comes to tabloid reporting and royal image-making, but I honestly love that stuff. I love learning how the royal sausage is made. Scobie also confirmed to Elle that he knows Endgame will burn a lot of bridges and end a lot of relationships he has within the royal courts and even within the royalist/propagandist media. This is a longer piece (it’s great!) and worth the read – go here for the full piece. Some highlights:
How American media works outside the royal rota: “With Americans, it’s very different, but you also go further afield. That world of supermarket tabloids in the U.S. and all of the anonymous insider quotes and all the rest of it, I’ll lift the lid on some of it. A lot of that comes from royal correspondents in the U.K. and the press pack who are just making a bit of extra money on the side and not putting their name to the story, or they’re putting things out there that perhaps they may feel more comfortable putting in the American tabloids than they would in their own work.
A mention of Rose Hanbury: “On a more sinister level, as I talk about in the book, those rumors that could potentially cause more damage to the royal family, such as the fallout between William and Kate and Rose Hanbury, which started on the pages of The Sun newspaper in the U.K., ended up completely disappearing out of the public conversation thanks to diverting attention at The Sun newspaper to stories about Harry and Meghan. At face value, that sounds like a conspiracy theory so I wanted to break down in the book how that change actually happened, the conversations I had with the communications aides at Kensington Palace who were desperate to get rid of this rumor or get it out of the eyeline of a specific tabloid newspaper.
How the Sussexes are still being used to deflect: “You only need to look, [this past weekend] The Guardian newspaper broke a staggering story about how King Charles had secretly profited from the assets of dead British citizens, that the assets of thousands of people in the northwest of England were being used to upgrade his property empire via some archaic custom. These are details about the royal family that we don’t know about and should know about, but when you look to see which newspapers in the rest of the media landscape have picked up on that story today or covered it, it’s few and far between because people would much rather spend their time getting swept up in hysteria over whether Meghan steps out on a red carpet last night or has a new Netflix projects in the works, or whatever thing that they choose to be angry about at that time. I think that for the right-wing, mainstream British newspapers, it benefits them to rely on the easier, lazier style of reporting when it comes to the royals because ultimately it keeps them in the good books of the royal family. If they were to all seize on this story about Charles profiting from the assets of dead citizens, that would then turn it into a nightmare for the palace.
The palaces still openly brief against the Sussexes: “Listen, for years the Palace was hugely involved in briefing stories about Harry and Meghan. There is proof to support that, I have proof, Harry and Meghan have spoken about it. At this point it is fact upon fact, upon fact. I think if you look at it today, things are a little different. I don’t see much evidence of wheeling out stories about Harry and Meghan specifically from Kensington Palace since they changed their complete communications team. It seems that there is perhaps some hope that they can move away from that kind of approach. We still see stories that come out that clearly came from the Palace, The Sunday Times as a prime example. It’ll be stories about the Sussexes: Are they going or not going to Sandringham at Christmas? Have they been invited to this? Are they going to acknowledge Charles’ birthday? This or that or the other, so much of this comes from a royal correspondent picking up the phone and chit-chatting with a communications aide, and whatever comes from that conversation ends up becoming the story.
The Sussexes still sell in the UK: “The reality is that the papers know that Harry and Meghan are the more clickable, interesting story, whether people like them or not. I think a lot of people do it out of hate. I think they’re a couple that receive a lot of hate clicks, but they still receive more attention and engagement than anyone else. That in itself is a problem for the institution of the monarchy because if their main players aren’t the ones getting the attention on the front pages, then where do you go from there?
How Meghan feels about that family: “We’ve seen her in the last year really establish herself as an independent individual that is not riding on the coattails of her royal past or really even interested in being involved in that world. I know her team spoke about [how] she wasn’t coming over for the coronation because of Archie’s birthday, but I also know from speaking with people that there was also a desire to stay away from the noise and hysteria that comes any time she sets foot near the country, let alone the family. And the way they were treated during the time of the Queen’s death and the funeral really reinforced for her that she had not only made the right decision, but didn’t want to go anywhere near [it] again.
LMAO this mention of the Early Years: “I think Kate’s in a really interesting position because in many ways, she’s the last main attraction in terms of the guaranteed crowd-puller, the guaranteed front page, the attraction within the royal family when it comes to all the glamour and mystique and mystery that comes with the Firm. She does a good job of maintaining that, too. We still know very little about her, we don’t really know her thoughts or feelings on much beyond the early years, but I think that we have seen an evolution in Kate.”
How Meghan changed Kate’s whole deal: “I remember when Meghan was still a working member of the royal family, I was writing Finding Freedom, and I was talking with a senior aide at Kensington Palace that worked with all four at the time, and they described Meghan’s arrival doing all of these big projects and going from one thing to the next and wanting more. That was always her attitude. They described it as—and they never finished their sentence—but it was a bit of a rocket up [the …] for Kate”
Lazy Kate: “We have seen an evolution in her on all fronts, but I also feel that there’s a huge amount of pressure on her moving forward … being kind of the last shiny thing in the royal family. That’s a huge amount of pressure for someone who has, so far, carried out much less engagements than any other member of the royal family. Who, although we don’t ever say it, is technically a part-time working royal.”
The “Kate the Peacemaker” stories: “I have questioned where Kate the peacekeeper stories come from because I’ve certainly not had anyone tell me anything of the sort. From my observations and the conversations I’ve had with people, Kate likes to stay out of that stuff, and we’ve certainly not seen any efforts from her made to smooth things over with any issues with herself and Meghan or with Harry or any kind of encouragement between the two brothers to talk. I don’t know where the peacekeeper stuff comes from. I sometimes think that it’s just lazy journalism that of course this sweet and innocent wife would just want to get the men together to smooth things over because perhaps in a movie or a TV show, that’s how it would be portrayed.”
Infantilizing Kate: “I often find that a lot of the coverage about Kate is either wishful thinking or more insinuating than anything. I also find some of the coverage on her a bit disrespectful at times. Just any kind of infantilization of her, the kind of like, wow, doesn’t she sit well? And wow, she twirled her hair. It’s always very breathless and I think well, she’s a grown woman. She’s got a lot more to say and do and prove beyond that. But the comfort zone with the press seems to be how well she can flip a pancake.
Rumors of William & Kate’s marriage troubles: “I think partly, rumors take on a life of their own online, and so there will be a bigger hunger for things that aren’t even true about someone. I think William and Kate have largely been protected from that with the British tabloids who often do lean on these very lazy rumor spreading and whatnot. But with Kate and William, particularly with their great relationships with a lot of the important newspaper editors and publishers, they managed to be kept out of that. But of course, there is no control over things in the U.S., and we have seen them become fodder for a lot of the supermarket tabloids for stories about their marriage being in trouble and all the rest of it. I’m not here to comment on someone’s marriage. I can only go by what I have heard from people that are much closer to the situation that I’d imagined a source for InTouch magazine is. I’ve not heard anything about a marriage being in trouble. I’m always very careful with that stuff as well. Just as much as I will disregard that story, I’ll also disregard the stories of Harry and Meghan’s marriage being in trouble. I think it’s very lazy tabloid journalism at times because you can’t make money off people just being happy all the time. You need them to be in crisis for their lives to be more interesting, and I think sometimes two people can just be in a very safe and perhaps slightly dull marriage and that’s okay.”
“But the comfort zone with the press seems to be how well she can flip a pancake.” First of all, she flipped the pancake poorly and that whole pancake photo-op was a huge flop!! I get what Scobie is saying and he’s absolutely right that the press prefers Kate’s superficiality in general. But let’s also be fair: Kate prefers the superficial as well. She’s spent 12 years in an institution and all she’s got to show for it is some nonsensical busywork, a drawer full of janky wigs and a button collection. Kate’s “comfort zone” is low-energy, no-drama, the-bar-is-in-hell stuff. As for the Wales marriage… I’m sure Scobie knows a lot more than what he’s saying, and perhaps in time he’ll get to talk about all of that. Also: that rejection of the Keen Peacemaker storyline!!
Photos courtesy of Instagram, Cover Images.
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