9 March 2021, 9.30 pm.
This date might not tell us anything if we read it so quickly, but it is the exact moment in which even in Italy we could see Harry and Meghan’s interview from Oprah, interview that many thought could accomplish the feat that Edward and Wallis failed to do: (ab) beat the monarchy that had rejected them. As we know, it was not because the British monarchy is the longest blockbuster ever shot that regenerates scandal after scandal just when everyone thinks it’s impossible. From that moment, however, something has definitely changed without us realizing it, or rather the signals were there but they had to be caught. Let’s check.
The first sign which foreshadowed a certain change of pace, comes a handful of days after the famous interview. It is in fact March 12, the «Mother’s day», when the account of Kensinghton Palace (that was still the name), publishes the drawings of George, Charlotte and Louis dedicated to the late grandmother. As we learn from the caption, the couple’s children dedicate a postcard to Diana every year for the love of their father William, but the particular thing about this post is something else. In fact, the drawings show the dedications written in their own hand by George and Charlotte, with the first one who writes «Dear grandmother Diana, happy Mother’s Day. I love you so much and I always think of you. With love George »e Charlotte who gives us the coup de grace by telling us that “Daddy misses you.” A foray into the private life of the couple we were not used to on social media.
Another sign the day of Kate and William’s wedding anniversary arrives, the tenth to be exact. The Dukes of Cambridge this year have not in fact published archive photos of their unforgettable wedding, but after having published some unpublished shots of the couple, they gave their followers, on the day of their anniversary, a very tender video which portrays the whole family strolling on Norfolk beach, then getting to sit around a fire as they all roast marshmallows together.
Once again, moments of daily life never seen before: a unicum in their editorial plan. But the real “tell me without telling me” moment that made it clear that something was changing was the launch of the Youtube channel with consequent change of nickname also on Instagram. Da Kensinghton Palace a Duke and duchess of Cambridge: people not a palace. The ever more frequent sharing of moments of private life, with less formal and more glossy photos of William himself, represented without many noticing a change in the communicative register, which culminated just a few weeks ago with the Earthshot Prize, the green award of the decade launched by Prince William, and with the most recent Glasfgow COP26.
Kate and William have in fact published on their channels, photos that portray them halfway between a presidential couple and two Hollywood stars, the perfect match between the Obamas and the Bennifers, unattainable enough to make us dream, but not to the point of generating negative feelings.
The reflection that now comes obligatory is one: and if the interview with Oprah was actually turning out to be a boomerang against the Sussex because it heralds this change of communicative step made by the Dukes of Cambridge? And what if it was the lack of a competing couple at court that allowed the Dukes to give themselves more to the public, as the Sussexes did before, without running the risk of “becoming bourgeois”?
It would seem that the interview with its explosion rather than demolishing the foundations of the monarchy has rather, with its shock wave, removed the dust from that institutional way of using social media, making the Cambridge closer but not to the point of being “normal”.
William and Kate understood that the monarchy is not eternal as we know it, and in the age of social media, in the age of this new media that has pervaded our lives so massively, they had to find a key to becoming “icons” and not “wax figures”, the way to be loved even by those who are no longer sure that it is worth spending so much to keep the monarchical bandwagon standing; and while TIME has just crowned the Sussexes among the 100 most influential personalities in the world, with the famous photo in which Harry looks like the hairdresser more than Meghan’s consort, it is equally true that next year the Cambridge will bring the Eartshot Prize precisely in America: in the realm of their “adversaries”.
A declaration of war? I don’t think so, certainly of intentions: Ce ripigliamm tutt chell che è ‘o nuost. And something of yours too, we seem to understand.