#HarrysDirty30 bonus round! As with most things in life, I’ve saved the best for last.
If you are involved in the world of royal watching, you undoubtedly are familiar with The Sun’s royal correspondent, Emily Andrews. She is a royal road warrior, avid tweeter and incredibly kind to us royal bloggers/social media freaks. No tweet ever goes unnoticed and she is always more than willing to share her photos and personal experiences. So, when it came time to map out my “Month of Harry” I immediately knew I wanted to talk to Emily, and she did not hesitate to help me out.
Emily not only agreed straight away to do this interview, but she did it from her holiday in Greece. I hope you will appreciate her openness as much as I do; she could have provided me with blanket responses, but we all know that’s not how Emily rolls. From his special relationship with children around the world, to his (not so special) relationship with the press and social media sphere, Emily lays it on the line and provides a glimpse into our favorite prince on this, his milestone thirtieth birthday.
You were with Harry on his tour of Chile and Brazil – which didn’t get a ton of coverage back home. What was the best moment that you wish everyone could have seen?
Two things stand out which probably best convey the competing sides of Harry’s personality. The first was at a children’s day care centre in a poor suburb of Santiago, Chile. Harry loved visiting the nursery- he’s in his element with kids and these pre-schoolers (ages 18 months to five years) were incredibly cute. He joined a couple of classes, tried a bit of Spanish and sat on the floor to play musical instruments with the babies. They loved him-he’s very natural with children, like his mum-and one little girl with leaning disabilities took a particular shine to him. He even cradled one of the babies-such a cute picture that his press officer grabbed me to make sure I covered it! He was very friendly to me and seemed to be having a great time. The second was at a fire station the next day in Valparaiso. The proud fire fighters gave Harry a display of their hoses-using the force of the water to unveil a large Chilean flag. Unfortunately most of the British and Chilean journalists were stood in a press pen in the way and got completely soaked (very luckily I was next to Harry out of harm’s way!). All the press started running to avoid getting sprayed and Harry just loved it. He laughed so much and was delighted the journalists got wet. Anyone who says Harry doesn’t have a problem with the press is sadly mistaken…He took great delight in them getting a soaking.
#HarryWithKids has become my favorite part of his tours and most of his engagements, and we had a lot of that in South America… what is it about him that fosters such incredible moments?
I think he’s just a real natural. That comes from innate personality. He bonds with them very quickly, even when he doesn’t share their language. He is a very relaxed guy which transmits to the kids and they immediately respond. He’s not afraid of making a fool of himself either, he’s not hung up about protocol or looking serious. The fact that he’s the “spare” not the heir gives him some more leeway (doesn’t have to be so formal) but he also has a great sense of humour – which sees the fun in everything- and emotional empathy. And kids don’t ask difficult questions!
Courtesy of Emily Andrews, The Sun, @byemilyandrews
It’s often said there’s many sides to Harry – Prince Harry vs. Captain Wales and everything in between – do you see a difference in him depending on the engagement?
Yes. He can do “serious royal” Harry just as well as “down-with-the-kids” Harry. His recent south American tour saw lots of the latter (football, dancing, cradling babies) while the WW1 commemorations in the UK and Belgium showed his serious side. And what he’s achieved with the Invictus Games displays just what am organising powerhouse he can be. When he wants to get something done, he just goes for it. He seemed quite nervous at the Opening Ceremony for Invictus, which was very endearing. You could see how much he meant to him that it goes well. And it has- which is a massive credit to him.
Harry’s visit to Memphis with William for Guy Pelly’s wedding caused quite the media storm – and not in a good way. What did you make of that on your side of the pond?
It was the “Party Prince” raising his head again… Look, the guy had just split up from his (only second serious) girlfriend and wanted to cut loose. I think we’ve all been there. It’s just that most of us don’t have to cope with doing under the spotlight of the world’s media… It was interesting: Harry is very critical of the UK press interest in his private life, but if he lived in the States I think the scrutiny would be a lot worse! There’s quite a lot he gets away with…
Harry has recently made his lack of enthusiasm for social media known, but it seems social media is increasingly taking over as an important vehicle for getting the royals’ messages out – whether it is with a cause they are championing, like the Invictus Games, or an overseas visit. As a royal reporter, what is your reaction to Harry’s confession and what should we all take away from it for our social media posting?
I know many bloggers/social media aficionados were very upset with his comments on this. Twitter even emailed him asking if he wanted any help on how to use it!!! Ironically Harry is very interested in it, uses it (under a pseudonym) and pretty much reads everything we all write. He even helps the Queen with it. He follows all the main people on Twitter-and has even talked to me about what I post!! He loves to know who are behind some of the more positive/negative users, and so do his press team. He cares very much about public perception of him, so I can guarantee he’ll read your blogs at some stage Kelly. Yet at the same time he hates the fact he can’t do anything private (his supermarket shopping, going to the cinema, buying a burger etc. ) without someone spotting him, taking a phone picture and putting it on social media. He wants to be like all of us, with the anonymity we enjoy. But he can’t – and this massively frustrates him. But his press team use social media increasingly as it’s a way of them getting his/their message straight out without it being diluted/distorted (as they would see it…) by the press.
One word to describe Prince Harry..
This is a big birthday for Harry, what do you think we will see from him in this milestone year?
This is a massive opportunity for Harry (see my piece on him last month in The Sun) as to the direction his life takes. He’s arguably the most popular royal- probably the only member of The Firm most ordinary people would want to buy a drink. I think the success of the Invictus Games will be a massive boost to his confidence and we’ll see him become a campaigning great like his mother. It’s interesting that he’s really stealing a march on his brother in this area. I think he’ll also go back to active service in the Army- a job that he loves. And hopefully he’ll find a lovely new girlfriend – one whom will help, finally, consign the “Party Prince” headline to history!
It’s September 15, 2015 – what was The Sun’s biggest Harry headline of the year?
On his engagement: I’m gonna marry Harry!
I cannot thank Emily enough for not only agreeing to this interview, but for putting so much thought and candor into it. If you’re not following Emily on Twitter, get on that right now!