Hacks get a royal handbagging from princes over sandbags

14 February 2014

5:40 PM

14 February 2014

5:40 PM

Prince Harry’s disdain for the media is well documented; but it was William who got grumpy today, telling Guardian journalist Robert Booth: ‘Why don’t you put your notebook down and give us a hand with the sandbags?’ Booth offered to help:

‘But when your reporter agreed to help, aides stepped in and said it would not be possible due to a lack of the right sort of clothing.’

Typical health and safety mumbo jumbo, etcetera.


The royal PR operation is a slick machine these days. Opportunities are rarely missed, which is why the princes were up bright and early this morning to get in on the action. William and Harry, and the Duchess of Cambridge, have used the media carefully to cultivate their distinctive and highly successful brand; so it’s always noteworthy when tempers flare.

Mr S has some sympathy with the ITN cameraman Jason Farrington:

‘Not sure why sandbag delivering Princes William and Harry have been so bad tempered with reporters and cameramen today. Without those crews “throwing their cameras about” and filming it, William and Harry probably wouldn’t even know the floods had happened.’

Then again, many flood victims are sick death of ‘flood tourists’. It won’t have done the princes any harm to have a pop at the media in public. What was I saying about rarely missed opportunities?

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Show comments
  • Terry Field

    An encapsulation of the absurd Island – the Roi in waiting criticises a third party – who is trying to earn a crust by photographing the set-up photo-opportunity – the Roi in waiting having been provided with the wherewithal to do his little job – and then health and safety stops further action.
    Appropriate clothing!!!
    Where was the Roi in waiting’s ermine, mini-sceptre and little Orb – we want our money’s worth, do us subjects!!!!
    A putrid mess of a society – I have no strong republican leanings, looking at the gruesome Penguin a la Francais, but the absurd British Royal pantomime just runs and runs.

    • La Fold

      What did the Dutch do? legalise flooding but only at home and in certain areas?

  • Mike Barnes

    Complaining about photographers on their PR exercise literally makes no sense. I thought the entire purpose was to get them on the news looking good.

    If they didn’t want to be hassled then why not turn up when it’s dark and don’t tell the press?

    • stephen rothbart

      Jesus, what a nasty post. Not everyone does something for the sake of a PR exercise. They are not standing for election.

      Never occurred to you they might just have been wanting to help.

      • Terry Field

        Don’t be silly – of COURSE they do!

  • john

    Windsor PR machine at work – rip off millions each year and show up at a handful of events. What are these people for?

    • Fergus Pickering

      Dunno. What are you for? Surplus to requirements. Exterminate. Exterminate.

  • Mynydd

    William and Harry were there to make up for the number of soldiers sacked by Mr Cameron.

  • City Blue

    Am I alone in finding the Royal media operation and the young Princes’ antipathy somewhat sinister? A free press is a vital part of our culture and constitutional freedoms. I know what happened to their mother may cloud their views but given what is at stake they need to grow up.

    • Fergus Pickering

      The Grauniad is a free press? Are you having a larf?

  • Ron Todd

    Somerset nothing for weeks, home counties army and Royal Family out on day one. If the Royals owned Somerset instead of Cornwall more might have been done sooner.

    • Duke_Bouvier

      Number of homes actually flooded in Somerset about 40. Number at risk in the Thames Valley – a couple of thousand. Flooding in the Thames Valley is simply for important that flooding of the Somerset levels.

  • sunnydayrider

    W & H can think themselves lucky, Kay “You are awful, but I like you” Burley was so obssesed with drooling over all those hunks in khakil tossing sand bags around “Shoulders back chest out, lovely boys,” otherwise they would have been saddled with her giggling and pouting, sticking her fluffy mic in every orifice all morning. Hasn’t she and the rest of her SKY had a spiffing time? It’s amazing the fun you can have in a pair of wellies, just getting in the way.

  • BritishSauce

    The lamest journalism on the flood yet from Mr Booth – complete tool-set of bland and predictable nonsense..

  • Daniel Maris

    We have a monarchy. Given we have a monarchy, I think it was good the Princes took a lead in showing how best to respond to this crisis. It may have been a PR stunt but if so, it was one that could only reinforce a good message I feel.

    It doesn’t exonerate the government from its weak-willed, lacklustre response in previous weeks, going back to before Christmas.

    • Lena Helena

      Oh surely you realize that it was a propaganda stuff for the profligate useless royals and the undemocratic monarchy they are seeking to sustain – even though more and more people are getting wise to their self aggrandizing shenanigans.Will these appalling royals ever rescind the dreadful decision not to be included in the Freedom of Information act – now if they did THAT would be news. The problem being that such a response would be an act of self condemnation! The FOIA is an act that Daniel Maris and the rest of us have no choice but to comply with. What do these pampered and privileged royals fear will be aired in the public domain – what have they to hide???!!!

  • Crumbs

    Once the press turned up, it was over for the princes, and they had to pack it in.

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  • wycombewanderer

    The two princes were not only there showing their faces, but also shared their faces during new labour’s wars.

    Where were meesieurs eaun Blair, Straw Dromey and prescott junior, were they fighting mummy and daddies wars?

    Were they Fù({ they were seeking a safe seat to climb aboard the gravy train!

    • Shorne

      Use your spell checker for goodness sake if you want to be taken seriously.

      • David nichols

        well i understood the post clearly but then i’m also told that on the privately educated privileged middle class guardian

        • Shorne

          Told what?

  • saffrin

    Steerpike, the pencil pusher claiming the hero status while two members of the Royal Family get stuck in with the labouring.
    Steerpike, there has been so much rain of late, it wouldn’t need rocket science for one to realise the country is flooded.
    If you think it would all be gone if it wasn’t for the reporting of it, you are as mad and arrogant as your article suggests.