THE BLOG

Prince Charles and the Guardian's Own Goal

18/05/2015 11:55 BST | Updated 15/05/2016 10:59 BST

After a 10 year legal battle to keep the content under wraps, this week saw the release of Prince Charles' highly anticipated 'black spider' letters in the Guardian.

Although the Guardian may believe that publishing these letters was in the public interest- a definition widely debated, in my opinion, this decision runs the risk of the newspaper unintentionally damaging its own reputation and indeed scoring an own goal.

Of course it is in a journalist's interest to report stories that sit in the public's area of interest, but I believe the Guardian appear to have dramatized a situation for a moment of glory when actually the results were nothing but anticlimactic.

Ironically, the publication of the letters, which many anticipated to be politically bias and controversial showcased the Prince's passion for issues such as dry stone walling, farming and the military which most people found rather endearing.

Critics have argued that Charles overstepped the mark politically and that he has no place in influencing government policy and attempting to privately lobby politicians.

However, I believe that the release of these letters and the revelation of Prince Charles' passion for the issues mentioned have allowed us to witness how the monarchy are becoming more in touch with society and give the royal family a strong sense of purpose.

The unprecedented outpour of respect from the public and media outlets alike have indeed been part of a boomerang effect directed back at the Guardian effectively deeming them a little out of touch themselves for building the release up unnecessarily.

In this case, I believe both parties need to tread finely in terms of reputation management.

The common protocol for public figures to rectify behaviour that can be deemed offensive is to release a public statement addressing the issues. I suspect the Prince's communications team will deal with this similarly and even more so after the mortifying footage of his aide dismantling journalist Michael Crick's microphone when he questioned the Prince about the leaked letters.

But also for the Guardian I think a crucial lesson has been learnt- never amplify anticipation un-necessarily as it can more often than not work the other way and open the floor to criticism.