Going face to face with Ant and Dec on prime time telly can only be a good thing for the royals
Whisper it quietly in the corridors of Buck House and Balmoral, but there are definite signs that the royal family is edging its way into the 21st century. I know, I know, they’ve been living so far in the past that they’ve only just entered the last one, but their latest move is a master stroke and PR coup, that demonstates that the era of former gymkhana champs peopling the royal press office is dead.
The palace’s decision to let princes William and Harry be interviewed by Ant and Dec – with Charles along for the ride – is a calculated bid to modernise the royals and keep the Windsor brand alive.
With the help of everyone’s favourite Geordie scamps, the royals are about to connect with a whole new generation – THEIR generation.
Ant and Dec have got the 18-25 market sewn up and, as such, can help hapless Harry and his grumpy brother reposition themselves just when the Windsors were in danger of losing the youth vote forever.
They have managed to turn a year that might have gone down as another annus horribilis for the royals’ public image, some soft shoe-shuffling giving TV access to Harry after he was the centre of a bad spell of getting caught smoking weed, and – in a self-evident nadir – being photographed in Nazi uniform.
Going face to face with Ant and Dec on primetime telly can only be a good thing for them. And it’s hardly going to be the Spanish inquisition. The princes might think twice about submitting to a grilling by Paxman, but with Ant and Dec they’ll get a big youth audience – and no doubt the palace will insist on all sorts of controls before it’s broadcast.
What’s more, while there remains the faint risk of Ant and Dec making Wills look like a fool, in the case of Harry and Charles there is really nothing to lose.
It’s not just the young princes who have everything to gain. What’s at stake here is nothing less than the future of Britain’s premier heritage brand. The only way Wills and Harry can screw this one up is if they pass a spliff among themselves during the interview.
Come to think of it, that could be the masterstroke that wins the monarchy another 100 years in power.