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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid