It is hard to imagine what the day to day life of a Royal Family member is like. We don’t get a glimpse into their private lives as they are kept under wraps, so how do we have any idea what they do behind closed doors? Royal correspondents have made careers of being in the know when it comes to the Royal Family. They often hang around their stately homes waiting to be given information from spokespeople.
It is their job to know the things that no one else does, and it means they have plenty of untold secrets. We’ve got firsthand tales from royal correspondents and how their jobs are unlike any other. These are the stories told by royal correspondents who closely followed these regal people.
A look behind the curtain
The British public doesn’t get to know too much detail about their Royal Family. People are informed of major events, but everything else is kept quiet. The people with their ears closest to the ground when it comes to Royal Family are the Royal correspondents. These correspondents are responsible for informing the wider media of events from within the Royal Family and many of their future plans.
Their job is essentially to be in the know about the family, who keep their secrets pretty close to their chest. They get to rub shoulders with some of the royals in line with their duties, and they have plenty of stories to tell about them. Nut how many secrets do they actually know?
It’s not as glamorous as it sounds
On the face of it, being a royal correspondent probably sounds like a great job. You get to follow the royal family around to amazing events, and you’re never too far away from where one of them lives. It is a 24-hour job, and it definitely comes with its own challenges.
Getting the balance of a good story right is hard. You don’t want to be too outrageous in what you’re saying, but it needs to be interesting enough for people to want to read it. You need to keep your sources happy, and if you upset them, you’ll find it harder than before to get any more information out of the palace.
Meghan and Harry are for real
Many Brits were unwilling to accept the fact that Prince Harry was going to marry Meghan Markle, as they felt she wasn’t a suitable match for the Duke of Sussex. One Royal reporter claimed that Markle’s background as a famous actress was actually a help at the beginning of the pair’s relationship.
Because Meghan was so used to dealing with the press following her around, she already had a headstart over Harry’s former lovers. The breakdown of many relationships Harry had in the past was due to the fact his partners couldn’t get used to the media attention. Markle comes ready prepared for that, and correspondent believes Meghan and Harry have a happy future to look forward to.
When bad news comes out their jobs are tough
Although the correspondents try to strike a balance between releasing good stories with ones that people want to read about, some cannot be kept out of the news. When Kate Middleton had photos leaked of her sunbathing without any clothes on, Prince William was not happy. He had a face like thunder, and Richard Palmer of the Daily Express was on the scene when the news broke to the couple.
He said he could tell William was struggling with the story, but Kate put a brave face on and told her husband to keep smiling. It was an indication that they are still humans and bad news can upset them too, despite how often they’re in the press.
Where they go, we go
The Royal Family cannot go anywhere without being followed by a correspondent. Essentially it is the job of a correspondent to report on what’s happening, but they can’t do that if they’re at the opposite end of the country. Victoria Arbiter was working for CNN during the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, but didn’t get to watch the whole ceremony.
Instead, she was forced to stay in the media pit in front to of Buckingham Palace, along with hundreds of other reporters from the world’s media outlets. Two billion people tuned in to watch that ceremony but working royal correspondents were not among them, as instead, they were broadcasting back to their TV networks.
Defying public opinion
According to the royal correspondents, the British public’s most disliked member of the Royal Family has been Camilla for a very long time. Despite not having much favor with the public, she is liked among correspondents.
Richard Palmer said that if he were asked which royal he and his colleagues preferred, it would be the Duchess of Cornwall. Camilla is said to be the one who would stop and chat the most with correspondents. She often acknowledges them with a simple “Good morning,” and sometimes even cracks a joke.
Harry is liked among reporters
When discussing which Royal Family members he likes speaking with, Palmer admitted that Prince Harry is a close second after Camilla in terms of who speaks to them the most. The correspondent said that Harry loves a bit of banter every now and again.
On the other hand, Palmer says that Kate Middleton is a very serious member of the family, who is enjoyable to speak with but asks very relevant questions. While Harry might take his role in his stride, the correspondents seem to think Kate takes her role very seriously.
Prince Harry isn’t as wild as people think
Prince Harry has garnered a reputation for being a bit of a wild child but Duncan Larcombe, a former royal editor, claims this is not the case. People remember Harry in his youth going out and having wild parties, but Lascombe believes that is a misconception and that the prince actually lives pretty frugally.
Harry reportedly books economy flights, though he knows he’ll get upgraded, and doesn’t drive around in flashy cars. Lascombe reports that Harry barely spends any money at all!
They draw huge crowds
Fans of the Royal Family gathered together when William married Kate in 2011. They lined the streets and all across the country people were throwing street parties in celebration. Katie Nicholl wrote a biography about Prince Harry and was among the crowd at the royal wedding.
She noted that she will always remember just how loud the applause from the crowd was when the newlyweds were passing by in their horse-drawn carriage. Nicholl remarked that the ground was actually trembling thanks to the enthusiasm of the crowd.
Prince William tragically lost his mother in a car crash in 1997, and when he proudly married Kate Middleton, there was a real sense of his mother’s absence. Victoria Arbiter was covering the wedding and admitted that it wasn’t until the wedding that she realized how much of a hole Diana had left in William and Harry’s lives.
She said that Diana had been present in her childhood. As she was covering the wedding, she became aware that Diana should have been there, and how she felt sorrow that she wasn’t.
Royal correspondents travel a lot, and Larcombe admits that he has many fond memories of his time following the royals. His job brought him to every continent, but he knows he never really got to see them acting naturally around him.
One memory Larcombe will cherish is having Prince Harry make fun of him, but the moment he will never forget was history in the making. He covered the royal wedding in 2011 and admitted that during the ceremony he was only too aware that he was watching something extraordinary.
They don’t become friends
You might think that hanging around someone for long enough would endear yourself to them, but that’s not necessarily the case – just ask stalkers! Jenny Bond, a BBC royal correspondent for 14 years, admits she did not become close with the Royals.
In Britain, Bond was a familiar face as she would report on what was happening at Buckingham Palace, but when asked if she liked members of the Royal Family she said no. The reporter admitted that after 14 years with the royals she had a distant relationship with them.
The Queen keeps her distance
Jennie Bond may have been a reporter used to working closely with the Royal Family but admitted she rarely ever got to interact with the Queen. Twice a year, Bond would be granted access to Her Majesty, but with other reporters there too.
She was never invited to have tea and cakes, not that she expected to be, but the Queen was reportedly very aloof when they did meet. Bond reports that one time she followed the Queen to South Korea, and even though the monarch knew the reporter, she asked if Bond was there for her.
It can be hard to keep the palace happy. One issue that correspondents struggling with are pictures of the infant royals. It can be hard to justify taking pictures of very young children, but the British public has a right to be interested in these kids.
They are all going to have very senior roles in the family when they grow up, so the public wants to see them. The Royal Family are opposed to releasing images which can result in a butting of heads between both parties.
Paying for sources
During the 1980s, many reporters were getting juicy stories about the royals. It was pretty common to see one or another member of the family plastered over the frontpage in the latest scandal. Many of those stories were leaked to correspondents through sources close to the family.
The problem was that these reporters were paying for the source, so something had to be done. Now many of the avenues the leaks were coming from have been shut down, and even police officers acting as royal bodyguards aren’t allowed to keep diaries.
Prince Harry earned a reputation in his youth as a party boy, and one reporter remembers his dancing on tables. Harry widely received negative press for his actions, but he was just young and deserved to live his life.
Nicholl reports that she has tried to help Harry’s personal relationships blossom in the past by refraining from reporting on them until they had a chance to grow. She adds that by the time she had given Harry the chance to develop his new relationship it had often ended!
Most people who work with the Royal Family will sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). That’s to make sure they keep quiet about what they see working with the family. It can be hard to get any news or gossip about the family, and those who do spill the beans do so at great risk.
Nicholl admits that some of her royal sources have ended up becoming close personal friends as they have built a trusting relationship. Breaching that trust is bad for the relationship and an end to any fresh news.