i Editor’s Letter: Our ‘position’ on the royals


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The Independent Online


With “only” 14 days left of the Royal tour Down Under, should  we offer you more or less  coverage? One of our rivals has already published two baby supplements, but in the absence of anything much resembling news, we have limited our reporting to yesterday’s tongue-in-cheek page 3 profile, marking the social debut of royal rugrat Prince George.

Even that was too much for some readers. “Up till now,” writes John Murphy of York, “I have been able to avoid celebrity rubbish by not reading Caught & Social. One of my reasons for buying i is that you have eschewed becoming part of the royal PR operation but today you have lapsed from your previous high standards. Please revert to your previous policy.”

Fear not, John. We will. I suppose  I could argue that the first outing of the future king, the first of thousands of public engagements, is worth noting, but only fleetingly, and certainly not too seriously.

This paper’s “position” on the royals is that we’ll cover them where news justifies a report – such as the legal battle to release Prince Charles’s letters lobbying  government ministers on public policy. (A dangerous incursion for a populist monarchy.) We are neither as besotted as our rivals nor fiercely republican like our sister title The Independent.

The cooing royal media pack will justify their existence on this trip – and for years to come – with updates on the young prince’s sleeping patterns, development, teeth growth, his personality… While it is true that you don’t get anywhere near HM by writing disobligingly, the case for Witchell and co’s defence is that royal  correspondence is a bastion of non-cynical journalism, where you can write pleasantly,  humanly. Admittedly not much consolation if you’d rather see the next in line all living in a three-bed semi off the A1.

Unless we hear from you otherwise, we’ll stick to what matters.


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