What’s so funny?
Mario Testino’s 20th-birthday portrait of Prince Harry with his brother and father shows the three royals sharing a joke. But is that all that’s going on? We ask the experts for their analysis
Prince Harry’s official 20th-birthday photograph is the tried-and-tested, safe PR route favoured by the royal family and, in particular, Kensington Palace: arty, clever, moody pictures selling the happy Wales household. The basic problem is that Harry and William hate the media and what they did to their mother. But what the press office is telling them is that they have to find some way of having a dialogue with the beast they loathe. What we are witnessing here is the swans gliding over the water; underneath there is an ugly set of feet, swimming like crazy to create a perfect PR moment.
What it tries to sell is a harmonious picture of Buckingham Palace at ease with the media. But it doesn’t show that there will always be tectonic plates shifting. The two princes, in particular William, will inevitably make some sort of mistake for the media to feed off. More than anything, this picture shows the symbiotic need of both parties.