House of Windsor’s royal rebrand takes shape as clock ticks to coronation

The Princess of Wales in Leeds to launch a campaign to raise awareness of early childhood.

The Princess of Wales in Leeds to launch a campaign to raise awareness of early childhood. Photo: Getty

In the latest move by the British monarchy to switch out the old and bring in the new after the Queen’s death last year, the Princess of Wales has launched an Instagram account focusing on early childhood.

It’s all part of what’s been described as the “great royal rebrand”.

Although more than 800 brands and companies with royal warrants will have two years to discontinue their use of the royal arms, the monarchy’s image and messaging is the pressing issue before the King’s coronation on May 6.

It began with a new cypher, then the Royal Mint unveiled the official coin effigy of the King with his portrait set to appear on banknotes by 2024, the Royal Mail’s stamp silhouette change and the wording inside passports.

Let’s not forget KCs (King’s Counsel) and the British national anthem God Save the King, and changing up our vernacular with jolly old expressions like ‘for King and Country’ and ‘please use the King’s English’.

As the King, Queen Consort and the Prince and Princess of Wales steer the ship towards May 6 – with gala dinners and meet and greet campaigns across the UK – it was Kate who took care of the narrative last week.

On February 1, Kate spearheaded the ‘Shaping Us’ campaign, signing onto Instagram with her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

In an organisation that is less than two years old, and started by the slimmed-down Royal Foundation, she posted a lengthy video message and spruiked its importance in speeches and walkabouts in London and the family-friendly city of Leeds.

“All of society has a role to play in this, even if you are not directly involved in a child’s life, because we are all responsible for building a more compassionate world in which our children can grow, learn and live.”

Princess of Wales on her Shaping Us project

Source: Instagram/Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood

Dawn of a new era

The British monarchy has endured decades – if not centuries – of campaigns to improve its image, not least the 21st century public relations disasters revolving around Prince Andrew, who was embroiled in a sex scandal involving the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Then came Megxit.

The decision by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to quit official duties and move to the US, losing their income stream, their security team and Harry’s identity, became a headache for the royal family.

With the death of the Queen aged 96 last September, and the ascension of Charles to the throne, the rebranding campaign has become the No.1 issue du jour.

The royal cypher

First there was the launch of the cypher after it was printed in the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace on September 27.

It will be CIIIR for Charles III Rex (king in Latin), with the C intertwined with the R, the III within the R, and the crown above both letters.

The monogram will feature on government buildings, state documents and new post boxes.

Marking a new chapter

According to the Royal Mint, the “new era in the British monarchy means a new monarch graces the obverse of The Sovereign.

Created by British sculptor Martin Jennings, the official coinage portrait of the King received his personal approval.

Bank notes and stamps

The Bank of England says updated banknotes featuring the King’s portrait are expected to enter circulation by mid-2024.

About £80 billion with the Queen’s face on them remain in circulation across Britain.

The last of the rebrand project is via the Royal Mail, which has ceased production of Queen Elizabeth II stamps to switch to a silhouette of the King.

A slimmed-down coronation? No way

The crowning of King Charles III in May will be celebrated with traditional processions, a concert at Windsor Castle, street parties, light shows and community volunteering.

The crowning with be the royal family’s major event for 2023, but has so far been overshadowed by Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir, Spare, in which he made accusations against the King and other family members.

Buckingham Palace said Britons, who have been given an extra bank holiday on May 8 to mark the occasion, will be able to watch the ceremonies and a special concert, plus see iconic buildings lit up with projections, lasers and drone displays.

“Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort hope the Coronation Weekend will provide an opportunity to spend time and celebrate with friends, families and communities across the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement last week.

Charles is also king and head of state of 14 other realms, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

The formal ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey and will follow the traditional pageantry used for anointing monarchs over the past 1000 years.

Following processions there and back, the King and Queen Consort will then appear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace accompanied by members of the royal family.

The palace did not say which members, amid speculation about whether Harry will be invited and if he is, whether he will attend, given his recent stinging criticism of his family.

Windsor Castle will host a coronation concert on May 7. It will feature an orchestra playing musical favourites with some of the world’s biggest entertainers and a special coronation choir, before buildings across the nation are lit up.

Hopefully the King’s favourite singer Diana Ross will take centre stage.

There will be a public ballot for tickets to allow several thousand members of the public to attend.

Street parties will be held on Sunday, with communities and neighbours encouraged to come together to share food.

On Monday, May 8, people will be encouraged to volunteer with charities, faith and community groups to pay tribute to the King’s public service and try to create a legacy of voluntary work.

“Their Majesties are looking forward to marking the occasion with the public throughout 2023,” Buckingham Palace said.

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