Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently finished their royal tour of southern Africa, and this is not like many other royal tours we have seen in the past. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been on the receiving end of much criticism recently, which leads many people to believe that this trip was crucial for their image. Can Prince Harry and Meghan Markle turn their reputation around?
The recent criticism Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have received
Critics have found a lot of things to be mad at in the past year. Prince Harry and Markle have been lambasted for living too lavishly as royals who rely on taxpayers’ money. They were criticized for spending $3 million on renovations for their new home. Markle was also slammed for having an extravagant wardrobe and two baby showers.
Recently, the couple came under fire again when they took four private jet rides in less than two weeks. Both Prince Harry and Markle are known to be environmental activists, so their decision to use gas-guzzling private jets did not sit well with other people. They were called “hypocrites,” among other things.
Why the Africa tour is important for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Because the trip to southern Africa came just shortly after their private jet controversy, it’s no secret that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are using this to try and improve their reputation in the media. The couple has reportedly hired an American PR firm to help with their public image.
“They and their aides know this tour has to be a success,” a source told Vanity Fair. “Everything has been planned meticulously so there is no margin for error.”
Royal expert Ingrid Seward also agrees that Prince Harry and Markle cannot afford to make serious mistakes on this tour. She said to Vanity Fair: “It will take more than a great tour to turn the tide completely, but if it goes well then it could be the start of a smoother path for them in the press. There’s a lot riding on the tour and the feeling is it really has to go well for the couple.”
How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle used the Africa tour to their advantage
On their Africa trip, the couple seemed serious about maintaining a down-to-earth, relatable image in the press. First off, they flew from England to South Africa on a commercial flight. They also flew with British Airways, which is often the preferred choice for traveling royals.
Sources close to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan also shared that they are dropped formalities on the tour. Instead of having people address them with their titles and “Sir” or “Madame,” everyone was free to address the royals by their first names. An insider said that this is because they “want minimal fuss, formality, and protocol, and will instead roll up their sleeves and get to work with projects that mean something to them.” They also seem to find it important to connect deeply with everyone they meet.
It seems that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have learned a harsh lesson in how they present themselves, and they are making an effort to come across as humble, hard-working royals. Even before going to Africa, Markle showed that she was trying to change her behavior for the better when she went for a quick trip to New York.
Only time will tell whether Prince Harry and Markle can continue improving their image in the media and get their popularity back up again.