The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle proved that Buckingham Palace is the best branding and special event planning organization on the planet and that Brexit may not be a total disaster after all.
That the roguish prince fell in love with an actress is pure luck and, coincidentally, hugely strategic. She is perfectly suited for her supporting role in what can only be described as the world’s most polished family reality show. I’m not a monarchist but enjoy and follow their narrative as do billions.
While they live relatively normal family lives behind Palace gates and guards, the fact is that no Royal steps foot outside their palaces without preparation, costuming, makeup, lighting, scripting, direction and the support of a public relations army the size of a multinational’s.
Added to the backing of a gigantic publicity machine, the new Duchess of Sussex married the most popular Royal at the moment, apart from the Queen, and she is a worthy role model across the Commonwealth’s 52 nations as an independently successful African American woman.
Little wonder she announced after her engagement that she was giving up acting. She now occupies the biggest stage anywhere and will be able to encourage causes important to her.
The wedding drew the fourth biggest television audience globally ever — more than two billion worldwide — and it’s impossible to imagine the volume of requests being made for her time from speeches, to endorsements of charities, to honorary degrees and travel around the world.
For Britain, the popularity of this glamorous couple comes at a critical time. The Royal Family underpins its tourist industry. London is the world’s second biggest tourist attraction with close to 20 million visitors annually, just behind Bangkok and ahead of Dubai, Singapore and Paris.
The marriage will also help Britain navigate around the damage caused by its Brexit decision. That is because Brexit proponents intend to resurrect the Commonwealth tariff-free agreement at upcoming meetings this summer. And Meghan’s acceptance by a monarchy and country — both brutal colonialists for centuries — represents an inflection point to many around the world and certainly across the Commonwealth.
Canada is to be one of the four initial members of a rebooted Commonwealth, along with Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom followed by India, South Africa, then the other 46 nations. In total, the 52 Commonwealth nations comprise one-third of the world’s population — or 2.3 billion people — and would be the biggest free trade market globally.
That would be enormously positive for Canada, especially in tandem with the fact that Canada has a free trade agreement with the European Union, which the United States does not. A Commonwealth deal and European Union deal would make Canada a very desirable place for increasingly protectionist Americans to export tariff-free to almost half the world without inking a free trade deal themselves.
The Royal Family is now in a unique position to help influence global events as well as to remain wealthy and beloved by its “subjects.” The business valuation consultancy Brand Finance estimated last year that the British Royal Family is worth about $95 billion, the Independent reports. That includes concrete assets, such as the 830,000-square-foot Buckingham Palace and the family’s extensive art collection, as well as more abstract assets such as the value of the Royal brand.
These celebrity newlyweds certainly have it all: Titles, fame, fortune and a berth in the family’s London compound with its 775 rooms and 1,000 employees. Now they can live happily ever after… as long as they all get along.
first published Financial Post