Prince and Princess of Wales reach out to Generation Z

Victoria Ward

London: Within four hours of the Coronation Concert, a snappy, slickly produced video appeared on the Prince and Princess of Wales’s social media channels.

The 34-second montage neatly encapsulated the event, offering prized glimpses of the family from behind the scenes and live slo-mo action – all expertly packaged and accompanied by suitably catchy music.

Kensington Palace has been churning out such videos with increasing frequency and eight have emerged on its social media channels in the last 10 days alone.

While the Coronation provided the perfect opportunity to showcase the family at work, the focus on social media may be considered part of a much broader strategy.

The recent array of public polls about the Royal family and its future all shared one finding in common; young people are not engaged.

One Ipsos survey found that while 84 per cent of those aged 65 and over backed the monarchy, but that fell to just 43 per cent of those aged 35 and under.

Similarly, a separate poll found that some 73 per cent agreed that “the Royal family needs to modernise to have any chance of surviving”, including three out of four monarchists.

With all 11 working royals over the age of 40 and no younger members of the family likely to join their ranks before Prince George, nine, comes of age, palace aides are acutely aware of the need to engage the Tik Tok generation.

The departure of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who were seen as younger and edgier and held a much higher appeal for younger people, has not helped the cause.

As the youngest working royals, much of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Waleses.

The couple have recently beefed up their social media team from one person to three, with a new head of digital, lured from Comic Relief, due to start this week.

A Kensington Palace source said the social media videos represented an important opportunity to reach younger audiences.

“We think about the way we tell our stories,” they said. “It’s incredibly important to use social media as we try to reach younger audiences – what you have seen is part of our effort to do that.”

“Younger people are predominantly consuming their news on social media so it’s important to deliver positive content that supports the Prince and Princess’s work on those platforms.”

The approach is proving successful. Between them, the video montages released last week have racked up millions of likes, retweets and comments.

The clips are shared not just on Twitter but on the Waleses’ YouTube and Instagram accounts.

The six Coronation videos were the work of London-based filmmaker Will Warr, who was hired specifically to mark the occasion.

Mr Warr also shot the 40-second video montage of the Prince and Princess and their family in Norfolk that was released in May 2021 to mark their tenth wedding anniversary.

But far from being a deliberate tactic to shore up support for the monarchy, sources insist they are simply using the videos as a means to reach teenagers via their chosen platform.

It comes after an Ofcom report published in March 2022 revealed that six in 10 teenagers used social media to find out about the news.

The first of the Coronation “shorts” shot by Mr Warr and widely circulated last week was called One Day to Go and showed the Prince and Princess – alongside the King – greeting crowds gathered on The Mall on the eve of the Coronation.

A second video released on the morning of the Coronation, was captioned, Today’s the Day, and sought to capture the growing excitement as people streamed into London wearing paper crowns and waving Union flags.

Arguably the most popular, was a one-minute clip posted at 6.40pm on May 6, just hours after the family had appeared on the palace balcony.

Titled “What. A. Day” it generated 18,000 likes on YouTube, 10.4million views on Twitter, 186,000 likes and 20,000 retweets.

Meanwhile, further videos showing the Prince rehearsing ahead of his speech at the Coronation Concert and a later montage – released less than three hours after the concert had finished – showing the family behind the scenes, also received an overwhelmingly positive response.

Next came a 35-minute clip showing Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, eight and Prince Louis, five, take centre stage as they helped renovate a Scout hut in Slough as part of the Big Help Out volunteer initiative.

The video showed Prince Louis on a digger and shovelling sand, Prince George drilling and firing arrows and Princess Charlotte proudly admiring her new Scouting neckerchief before all three gathered around a fire to toast marshmallows.

It has racked up more than 1.2 million views on Twitter and thousands of retweets and comments across all channels.

A longer 4.54 minute video by Mr Warr was also released, covering the entire weekend and the build-up to it. Cut with snippets of news coverage, it included new behind-the-scenes footage of Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis at Kensington Palace before leaving for the ceremony.

The video provides a rare glimpse into their family life during the historic weekend and includes a voiceover of the Prince pledging allegiance to his father as well as a snippet from his speech at the Coronation Concert last Sunday.

Just six hours after it was posted on the couple’s official Twitter account the video had racked up almost 500,000 views and more than 8,800 likes.

The glut of Coronation-themed content was swiftly followed by a behind-the-scenes video showing Prince William presenting England football player Beth Mead with her MBE.

The videos have been warmly received and, it appears, are likely to become a mainstay as Team Wales seeks to reach the critical Generation Z.