Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Africa Tour Could Make Them Popular Again: How Archie Is the ‘Key Player’
After a summer of harsh criticism, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may be poised to erase some of the damage done to their reputation as they travel to Africa. How will this royal tour do PR damage repair and why does Archie play a big role?
Repairing the damage of a “summer of hostile headlines”
It’s been a rough stretch for Prince Harry and Markle, who have faced backlash about their requests for privacy and taking private planes while preaching about environmental causes. Things could be on the upswing for the Sussexes, however, according to Patrick Jephson, who was the private secretary to Princess Diana between 1988 and 1996.
Jephson believes the couple can repair the damage of a “summer of hostile headlines” and pointed to Diana’s anti-mine work in 1997 and Harry’s upcoming visit to the minefield. He wrote in the Telegraph: “More than two decades will separate the two images of familiar royal figures trussed up in visor and body armour, but beyond this similarity lie differences of royal style that tell us quite a lot about how Prince Harry is following in his mother’s careful footsteps — and how he is charting his own very different path through the minefield of public life.”
Jephson noted: “Harry, as we know, has inherited his mother’s gift for spontaneous charm. He’ll need every ounce of it during the Africa tour which he is about to lead, as it’s probably the greatest diplomatic test of his royal career to date. It’s also a test of his ability to repair the damage of a summer of hostile headlines.”
Charity should be a focus
The Sussexes will visit Africa from September 23 to October 2, with Markle and baby Archie spending their time in South Africa and Harry leaving them to tour Angola, Malawi and Botswana before reuniting with them in Johannesburg.
Jephson noted that Harry’s focus should be on the charitable side of the visit, stating that the prince, “at 35, he is, after all, the same age as his mother was when she took those steps onto dangerous ground in Angola. But it would be hard to think of a more hazardous minefield for an earnest prince than the world of celebrity American TV.”
He added: “The blurry line between royalty and celebrity doesn’t offer a clear path to safe ground. Harry, as a new father, will surely wonder how best to protect his family from the hazards of being a socially-concerned modern prince.”
How Archie can play a part
The Sussexes are on their first royal tour as a family and including baby Archie on this trip can significantly help the couple improve their fallen popularity.
Royal expert and editor in chief of Majesty magazine, Ingrid Seward, believes that showing Archie to the public will be beneficial to improving the couple’s image, telling the Telegraph: “From a public relations point of view the Duke and Duchess really do need to show the people Archie.”
She continued: “He is the best ticket they have got for getting people to refall in love with them. People are very susceptible to images of children. I don’t see the point of hauling him all the way there only to keep him under wraps.”
Similarly, she told the Daily Mail: “People will want to see baby Archie who could be the key player in this. I think if they show as a glimpse of Archie it could turn things around for the Sussexes.”
She added: “It’s a small thing but it could end up being a very big thing in terms of better press coverage. They’ve had a tough run, this is a chance to make it better.”