As the royal wedding approaches we’ve got some exclusive content from royal commentator Duncan Larcombe to share with our readers!
So why is Harry so popular? Why is he the Royal men want to drink with and women want to…..? let’s leave it there.
First, his mother’s legacy. Princess Diana was loved not just in-spite of, but perhaps because of her flaws. She was a global icon whose woes were well known, and as such people could identify with her. The public don’t like perfection in their public figures, it’s the flaws that make them real.
Those who adored Princess Diana, adore her sons by proxy. And when most of us think of Prince Harry, it is hard not to remember that tragic 12-year-old, head bowed and walking behind his mother’s coffin.
Secondly, the twinkle in his eye. Even as a young boy, Harry had that look of mischief in his eye. That is something he was born with, and something his elder brother, perhaps fortuitously, lacks. Next to William, Harry comes across as more fun, more down to earth and more of a laugh. As a double act, Harry has benefitted from the freedom of being lower in the line of succession and this fits just right with his personality.
Thirdly, his wit. Harry has a very sharp sense of humour and uses this to his advantage. He can turn a potentially awkward moment into a light-hearted bit of fun. He puts people at ease by saying the right thing at the right time, a skill that is on the CV of all comedians.
Fourthly, he wears his heart on his sleeve. Because of this Harry’s public reactions to the things that go on around him are instinctive, not rehearsed. Where so many other members of his family go wrong, is that they can appear emotionless in front of the camera. This makes them look like they lack empathy with the public, a fatal flaw when it comes to winning them over. Prince Charles is actually very engaging when you meet him face to face, but in larger crowds he can look slightly aloof or unengaged. Harry in contrast, always seems relaxed and at ease.
And finally, his lifestyle. There was a time when the men in grey suits at the palace were horrified by Harry’s love of a drink and lust for a good time. But in fact this apprenticeship is now bearing fruit. The public see themselves in Harry, having a sense of fun while surrounded with all the baggage and seriousness of being a Royal endears him to the public. Would the euphoria and excitement that greeted news of the engagement really have been the same if Harry had spent his adult life locked away in a castle painting watercolours of stuffed animals? I would argue not. His reputation as a partying Prince has made him what his is, rather than tarnished his reputation.
The PR challenge for Harry will be to sustain this popularity into mid life. He should always remember how popular his uncle Prince Andrew was in his youth, and how spectacularly this changed in later life.
But the early signs are that in Meghan he has a companion who displays similar traits and whose sight at his side will boost, not threaten Harry’s base support.
By Duncan Larcombe, Author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story
Prince Harry: The Inside Story is out now!