News / Europe

    Royal Baby Worth his Weight in Gold to 'the Firm'

    Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge appear with their baby son outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, in central London, July 23, 2013.
    Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge appear with their baby son outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, in central London, July 23, 2013.
    Reuters
    The Firm, as Britain's royal family calls itself, has a new asset.
     
    With the world media in a frenzy over the birth of Prince William and his wife Kate's son, companies from airlines to champagne-makers have jumped on the chance to cash in on the wave of popularity sweeping over the royal family.
     
    From royal potties to blue-cream-filled doughnuts to china commemorative plates, the range of merchandise celebrating the  birth of the prince ranges from the obvious to the bizarre.
     
    Economic forecasters have suggested the new prince could boost Britain's austerity-hit economy by as much as 520 million pounds ($780 million) in the short term as well-wishers buy souvenirs, celebrate his arrival, and buy baby products.

    But the longer term impact of the latest good news from the House of Windsor is deemed more significant, with the rising popularity of the royals helping underpin the image of Britain abroad while brightening consumer sentiment in a tough economy.
     
    Asset valuation agency Brand Finance said the monarchy was one of Britain's most valuable brands, run professionally like a firm and set to contribute an estimated 1.9 billion pounds to the British economy this year while costing 250 million pounds.
     
    “Whether you agree or disagree with the constitutional principle, there is little doubt that the monarchy adds significant annual earnings and long term economic value to the UK,” Brand Finance's Chief Executive David Haigh told Reuters.
     
    “The latest Windsor will be an effective and lucrative ambassador for Brand Britain, making a significant contribution to the task of driving Britain out of the recession. There is a trend in favor of the royal family and they are clearly getting very good advice over marketing and communication.”
     
    The estimated benefit of the monarchy to the economy was worked out by valuing intangible assets such as tourism, merchandising, PR value, and royalties.
     
    Branding ‘the Firm’
     
    Tourism is Britain's fifth largest industry and the royal family plays a leading role.

    Royal ceremonies and events always get worldwide media attention and have helped increase the royals' popularity, such as with William and Kate's spectacular wedding in April 2011 and the queen's Diamond Jubilee last year.
     
    Tradition reigned on Monday with pomp and ceremony around the yet-to-be-named baby's arrival as the birth announcement was pinned to a golden easel inside the gates of Buckingham Palace.
     
    Clarissa Campbell Orr, historian of monarchy at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, said Britain's monarchy was a long-lasting brand in that it promoted continuity by combining heritage, tradition and a close relationship with people.
     
    She said the younger royals, led by Prince William and his soldier-playboy brother Harry, had cemented this feeling of continuity. A poll last week showed the popularity of the royal family is back at record levels with 77 percent support for the monarchy.
     
    The royals fell out of public favor for misjudging their reaction to the death of the hugely popular Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997, a year after her divorce from Prince Charles. They were seen as out of touch.
     
    “There are people who have not forgiven Prince Charles for his relationship with Princess Diana but the relationship between William and Kate is unclouded and uncomplicated. It promotes continuity,” Orr told Reuters.
     
    “This is a fresh generation. The monarchy has proved that it is adaptable and it's much more media savvy than it used to be.”
     
    Haigh said the royal family had received good advice in recent years from public realtions and marketing experts on how to re-invent its image, trimming down the number of royals to focus on the younger generation.
     
    “They haven't put a foot wrong in anything they have done recently,” Haigh said. “I am neutral about the monarchy as an institution but if you look at the economics, it is almost irrefutable that they are going a good job in helping the British economy.”

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.