A royal author says when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s time as working members of the royal family ended in January 2020, they left a “charisma vacancy” that is now down to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children to fill.
Cele Otnes, coauthor of Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture (opens in new tab), borrows the term “charisma vacancy” from Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers (opens in new tab), and says that there has been that vacancy since Harry and Meghan left the Firm.
“There’s a great quote where Tina [Brown] says one of the big problems with Harry and Meghan leaving the brand is that now there is this ‘charisma vacancy,’” she tells The Daily Express. “I love that.”
For example, during her life, Otnes says Princess Diana filled the royal family’s charisma quota. Now, with Harry and Meghan gone, “the position has been filled by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children, who have regularly shown off their personalities,” writes the Express.
Otnes, a professor of marketing specializing in the royal family, says charisma is a necessary factor for the Firm’s brand image, as it shows personality and appeals to an audience.
“What you want is people to have a personality, or at least some of them do,” she says.
And, while Prince Charles “has more charisma than people give him credit for,” he lacks confidence, Otnes says.
“What holds him back from expressing that is that he seems to just wallow in self-pity and a lack of self-confidence, which is, I think, completely unwarranted,” she says.
As for Princess Anne? She “is not someone one would say is charismatic, nor does she care,” Otnes says.
Though maybe not through speech but more so through visuals, the Cambridges’ three children—Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4—can fill the void.
“Well, one that does, not through speech, but through visuals are William and Catherine’s children,” she says.
Who can forget Charlotte’s sassy remark outside of Louis’ 2018 christening, when the princess, three at the time, “showed she was a force to be reckoned with when she told photographers ‘You’re not coming,’” writes the Express. Like Uncle Harry before her, Charlotte has also been spotted more than once sticking her tongue out to crowds.
“She and her siblings also can’t help but make hilarious faces at Trooping the Colour over the years and are often photographed pulling a less than serious expression,” the outlet reports. “The youngsters appear to be following in their uncle’s footsteps because, as a child, Prince Harry was photographed numerous times sticking his tongue out in the direction of photographers.”
The Cambridge kids certainly don’t lack for personality, and we’re loving watching them grow up—occasional tongues out and all.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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