BBC: The Keen Tour was a ‘white-savior parody’ brought on by bad staff work

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Keen Colonialist Caribbean Tour is being roasted in the international media. Jamaican media is full of anger towards William and Kate for their completely inappropriate behavior and photo-ops. Mainstream American media has been covering the disastrous tour with a critical eye. All across the Commonwealth, people have been paying attention to how tone-deaf, how privileged, how dated and colonialist William and Kate seem. For those of us who have followed the Keen Adventures for years, we know that none of this is new, although I think even long-time royal watchers have been stunned by just how badly everything has gone. In any case, even royal commentators working for mainstream British outlets are starting to be massively critical. The BBC’s Jonny Dymond wrote a piece called “Prince William and Kate: The PR missteps that overshadowed a royal tour.” He largely blames bad staff work:

PR disaster: Quite how defeat was plucked from the jaws of victory in Trench Town, Kingston, may one day become the stuff of public relations legend. Palace staff must be wondering how the defining image of the Cambridges’ trip to the Caribbean was not the explosion of joy and pleasure that greeted the couple in downtown Kingston. But instead, what looked to many as some sort of white-saviour parody, with Kate and William fleetingly making contact with the outstretched fingers of Jamaican children, pushing through a wire fence. It was a bad misstep for a couple who are surprisingly media-savvy. And it was not the only one on this curiously disorganised trip.

Disaster after disaster: The first engagement in Belize was hurriedly cancelled following a protest by some residents. Another protest – albeit a small one – popped up on the day they arrived in Jamaica. The Jamaican prime minister declared, as the couple stood mutely beside him, that he would rather not have the Queen as head of state any more. And the Land Rover ride out of the military commissioning parade may have been intended as a charming homage to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who rode in the same vehicle back in the 60s. But to some it just felt like a clunky reminder of a more deferential time.

Bad staff work: So how did Trench Town end up as a PR disaster? Bad planning and bad execution are part of it. It’s been more than two years since the last tour and the Cambridges’ team sorely lacks experience in setting up a long and complex trip. It only takes one thing, one moment, to overshadow days of good works. There have been a fair few of those things. The whole fingers-through-the wire moment was avoidable. “It’s really unfair,” complained one senior British diplomat of the critical coverage. But since when was life – or social media – fair?

Times have changed: Times have changed. The Royal Family have in the past been pretty good at changing with them. But not on this tour. And second chances are these days few and far between.

[From BBC]

Of course, William and Kate have agency here, they were the ones signing off on everything and they clearly are too stupid to understand that no one wants to see them drum or “honor Bob Marley” or stand in a Land Rover or whatever. That’s on them. But I’ve also been struck by the bad staff work too. Which is also the fault of Will and Kate. They refuse to hire competent professionals who will tell them the truth – “No, sir, that photo-op will look horrible, we should not do that” – and instead surround themselves with sycophants and incompetent clowns.

When even the normally-sycophantic British commentators are talking about this kind of thing though… it’s interesting. We’ve got royal Rota a–holes speaking openly about how William and Kate shouldn’t be sent on any more tours and how poorly their imagery landed. It’s pretty interesting.

Photos courtesy of Instar, Backgrid.

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