The Royal Wedding - Reuters News Agency

The Royal Wedding

The ‘Meghan Markle effect’

By  Mutesa Sithole | Apr 16, 2018

It’s a mere five weeks until Windsor Castle becomes the center of celebrity and Royal mania.

With preparation well under way, we share stories of past Royal Weddings from some of the journalists that captured them, and explore why publishers should embrace the ‘Markle effect’.

From speaking with people all around the world, I’ve been surprised at how global the event is, how it is travelling, and how it is defying demographics by appealing to young and old alike.”

Sue Brooks, global head of product, Reuters News Agency

Bridal fashion

Sue Brooks has lead the product team for Reuters news agency since November 2015. Celebrating the 40th year of her career in news coincides nicely with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding making it a timely opportunity to unearth some Royal memories from her editorial positions in newspapers, radio and TV newsrooms, including editing ITN’s flagship News at 10.

Recalling the sounds of typewriter keys and printing presses that enveloped newsrooms of yesteryear, “I’m rather envious of the array of tools available to upcoming journalists. One can make use of multimedia to tremendous effect when building a story”, Sue mused. “The creation of news may be less tangible than before but now we’re able to create better experiences through more means”.

“It’s a fantastic mix (this Royal Wedding) between the pomp and the circumstance that no country does better than Britain. The juxtaposition of the 14th centruy St.George’s chapel, alongside the modernity of the couple. Plus it’s being called the ‘people’s wedding’ as they’ve opened up the event to thousands of people.”

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s nuptials were quite an affair. Actually, I do recall observing how crumpled Diana’s meringue of a gown was as she emerged!”

The Princess of Wales, showing her wedding gown for the first time on arrival at Saint Paul’s Cathedral for her wedding to Prince Charles in London, July 29, 1981.

The iconic black and white shot of Princess Diana’s wedding dress being caught in a gust of wind as she arrives at St. Paul’s cathedral was captured by photojournalist, Mal Langsdon.

“I was positioned up on the fifth floor of a multi-storey carpark that used to be opposite the cathedral. We arrived early, ahead of the procession, so still had time to wander about, capturing fans who had camped overnight, having their breakfast and sipping tea from thermos flasks. Two hours later, back in position, the car pulls up and as Princess Diana steps out a huge gust of wind caught the train of her dress. That became one of the best used images, simply because it was so different.”

“Diana was the first fashion icon princess and it’s exciting to see how that tradition has carried on through the generations” continued Sue.

“I saw Kate the other day in a Catherine Walker coat. Walker was one of Diana’s favorite designers. It’s quite the departure from the traditional Norman Hartnell couturier of the Queen and the Queen Mother. It’s also fascinating to witness the evolution of bridal fashion through the ages.”

Celebrity

It’s not just the focus on fashion that has gripped the imaginations of many. We haven’t seen an actress marry a Prince since Grace Kelly let Prince Rainier III put a ring on it in 1956, and Meghan has quite the global fan base. Publishers and broadcasters will be looking to leverage the ‘Markle effect’ in the lead up to, during and after the wedding.
Reuters Archive Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III

Sue highlighted that “with Meghan, there’s the American angle to this story as well. The last royal to marry an American had to abdicate because he was marrying a divorcee, the infamous King Edward and Wallis Simpson. Times certainly have changed.”

Wallis Simpson, the American socialite who married a British king over 80 years ago

“From speaking with people all around the world, I’ve been surprised at how global the event is, how it is travelling, and how it is defying demographics by appealing to young and old alike” Sue continued.

“I think young people are interested because of Harry’s enormous impact on mental health charities and his obvious interest in youth issues. And older people are interested in the glitz and the glamour. I have actually been quite surprised at how universal the appeal of the wedding appears to be, people can’t seem to get enough of it.”

We’ll have lots of live coverage, a lot of live video”

“We’ll have lots of live coverage, a lot of live. And we shouldn’t forget as well that we have got a baby arriving in amongst all of this.

We’ll have live coverage from outside St. George’s hospital for that event. Of course, at the wedding, nobody knows obviously whether the new baby will be there, but we can assume that Charlotte and George will be there. Presumably they’ll have a role, I don’t know, it’s very exciting!”

We’ll be getting the view from commonwealth countries, in Meghan’s hometown and reactions from all over the world.”

“We will have more content from the UK, but what differentiates us is the global reach and global coverage. So we’ll be getting the view from commonwealth countries, in Meghan’s hometown and reactions from all over the world. Our global coverage really is what stands out. Then there’s the archives and the graphics and so on.”