Prince Harry is without doubt a source of major headaches for Buckingham Palace and the Queen. He’s a complex character – part hero, part villain. He is by far the most colorful branch of the British royal family tree and often the most controversial. He’s been busted and publicly criticized for smoking pot as well as for underage drinking. His string of well-publicized romances keep the tabloids buzzing. The heat he takes for his various stunts is often well-deserved. Partying naked with Las Vegas girls earned him reams of sensationalist press.
Some of his bad decisions are move forgivable than others. While trying to justify his particular brand of royal misbehavior is a futile, you could be forgiven for wondering if Prince Harry is being strategic about his craziness. Specifically, does he court attention to build a platform? Unlike his brother who gets in the news for the most celebrated royal wedding in decades, Prince Harry keeps himself and his causes in the spotlight with guerrilla marketing.
He is very unconventional. The sensationalist headlines he generates around the world do more than broadcast his weaknesses. Prince Harry news is of a brand that draws attention to the good he does as well. This is the Machiavellian genius of Prince Harry’s image-management however much Buckingham Palace disapproves.
Here are some of the ways he uses his celebrity platform:
Dispensing with convention. Harry is basically Buckingham Palace’s ambassador of non-convention. He makes a point of not living the usual life of privilege. He took a year off as a teenager, splitting his time between work on a cattle ranch in Australia and the tiny, poverty stricken African nation of Lesotho. After this bout of global do-gooding, Harry opted out of going to university and headed straight for the military.
He takes risks. While in the military, Harry doesn’t look for the easy way out. Before he was officially prevented from doing so by the British military, Prince Harry was supposed to be stationed on the front lines in Iraq. In 2009 Australian media broke a media blackout and exposed the fact that he was serving in the Afghan war on the front lines. He just went back to fight in Afghanistan and the Taliban have already put him on the kill list.
He’s a humanitarian. Both Harry and his older brother William inherited their bigheartedness from their mother. Through the umbrella organization called The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, the royal brothers tackle a lot of charitable goals. He has been internationally recognized for his charitable work. Former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell presented him with the Atlantic Council’s distinguished humanitarian leadership for his charitable work with wounded soldiers.
To some extent, most publicity is good publicity when it comes to Prince Harry and his unique message. As celebrities go, Prince Harry is not doing badly. Misbehaving in Las Vegas is a common celebrity blunder but how often do you hear of a Hollywood star or a pop sensation risking their life for their country? In terms of today’s British monarchy, Prince Harry can easily be seen as its bravest son. The good he stands for outweighs his frequent tendency to misbehave. Is he the ultimate champion of savvy, global do-gooding?
Let’s take all this a step further. Is Harry’s lifestyle a deliberate form of shock art? He knows how to court attention and he does so spectacularly well. If he is deliberately baiting and manipulating the media to tell his story, he is succeeding.