Princess Diana's aide PATRICK JEPHSON hails a PR coup by Duke

Princess Diana's aide PATRICK JEPHSON hails a PR coup by Duke
Princess Diana's aide PATRICK JEPHSON hails a PR coup by Duke

As part of the quietest revolution in royal public relations, Prince William’s Time To Walk podcast avoids the usual marketing hype. It’s just a man walking alone chatting with an imaginary companion.

‘Like I’ve been on a walk with my best mate or my wife,’ says the prince, and that’s exactly what it feels like.

Nice to see the happy inclusion of Catherine, but significantly, there is no mention of any of the big royal news stories of the day.

There’s no attempt to twist our loyalties or plead for sympathy, no hint of victimhood or sly whisper of accusation, no false self-deprecation or blowhard claim of improbable expertise. 

Just a man talking and trusting us to recognise the power of his vulnerability as he does so.

As part of the quietest revolution in royal public relations, Prince William’s Time To Walk podcast avoids the usual marketing hype. It’s just a man walking alone chatting with an imaginary companion

As part of the quietest revolution in royal public relations, Prince William’s Time To Walk podcast avoids the usual marketing hype. It’s just a man walking alone chatting with an imaginary companion

In effect, this is William’s Christmas broadcast. True, it’s for an international audience – it goes out on Apple Music 1 and Apple Fitness+, after all – and some of its soul-baring honesty is strange to British ears. But, actually, that’s part of its charm and impact.

A feel-good boost could be just what the royal family’s festivities need because merriment may be in short supply.

Across the Atlantic, Harry and Meghan’s Montecito melodrama plays incorrigibly on, just as the Ghislaine Maxwell trial luridly re-exposes Prince Andrew’s association with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

In a chilly message from the Commonwealth, sunny Barbados has become a republic, rejecting constitutional monarchy as a system whose time is past. Progressive opinion in Britain is gleefully likeminded.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles can’t avoid embarrassment as an inquiry finds that his trusted former valet co-ordinated with ‘fixers’ over honours for a donor to the Prince’s Foundation. 

Above it all hovers the shadow of Prince Philip, whose passing has been followed by deepened concern over the monarch’s own health.

Surveying the not-very-glorious scene, even hardcore royalists might ask how much longer the Windsors will deserve their exalted place in the national shop window.

There’s no attempt to twist our loyalties or plead for sympathy, no hint of victimhood or sly whisper of accusation, no false self-deprecation or blowhard claim of improbable expertise

There’s no attempt to twist our loyalties or plead for sympathy, no hint of victimhood or sly whisper of accusation, no false self-deprecation or blowhard claim of improbable expertise

Rescue may be at hand, courtesy of Apple. The most significant and persuasive piece of royal PR in years is about to arrive in the nation’s earbuds: Prince William’s Time To Walk isn’t tourist trivia and arcane ceremonial.

It’s not a glossy charity ego-trip; nor is it a misery list of architectural carbuncles and climate-change catastrophe.

Instead, it’s a study in the healing power of vulnerability. By sharing some of his most un-royal moments, the prince paradoxically affirms his royal credentials.

Every listener will recognise a story, reminiscence or sensory cue that stirs a moment of emotional connection. 

On witnessing harrowing injuries as an air ambulance pilot: ‘I wasn’t in tears, but inside, I felt something had changed ... It was like someone had put a key in a lock and opened it without me giving permission to do that. I felt the whole world was dying…’

Yet there’s no self-indulgence in these revelations. What predominates is an unaffected humility.

As prince wins praise for his podcast, Diana’s aide hails a PR coup

Prince William won praise from a major mental health charity yesterday after speaking about the trauma he experienced as a result of his work as an air ambulance pilot.

Mind said his openness would encourage others to seek help.

Paul Farmer, the charity’s chief executive, said: ‘We hope that the Duke of Cambridge’s comment will help to raise awareness of mental health among emergency service workers.’

The duke, 39, was speaking in a podcast for an Apple Fitness+ audio series. He described the profound impact that rescuing a child who had been hit by a car had had on him, as well as the personal moments that had shaped his life, including with his mother.

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