Friday was Prince George’s third birthday, one of those rare occasions that usually unites all royal watchers because regardless of personal feelings about the monarchy, tiny humans are cute. To my surprise, the first royal story I would see of the day was this one:
Consequently, one of the first phrases I uttered aloud on Friday was, “Oh, for fuck’s sake.” A photo of a little boy and the family dog became another @KensingtonRoyal-released PR blunder, the July follow-up to Kate’s controversial fur-lined mitten photos released back in March. The Daily Mail article headline proclaimed:
A three year old possible future king was branded a “monster” for offering a lick of his white chocolate-covered vanilla Magnum to the Cambridge canine, Lupo, like he was the Second Coming of Jack the Ripper. Once again, the Cambridges provided the outrage ammo themselves.
To be fair, the photo is only suggestive. We don’t know if Lupo even took a lick or if the photographer used twenty empty boxes of White Chocolate Magnum bars consumed by Lupo as a tripod. However, there’s a legitimate reason many animal lovers bristled at the photo.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released the statement: “It is lovely that Prince George is trying to help keep his family dog, Lupo, cool in these high temperatures. We would advise people to be cautious when giving their dogs food meant for human consumption as some items, like chocolate, can be highly toxic to dogs and dairy items can be difficult for them to digest.”
The reason dairy is an issue is because many dogs are lactose intolerant. There are some that don’t seem to have a problem digesting dairy, but in many dairy can cause a range of digestive issues from mild discomfort to vomiting and diarrhea.
Chocolate, however, can be toxic to dogs and the Magnum bar in question is covered in white chocolate. The potential fatal factor of chocolate usually comes down to the dog’s weight, age, overall health, how much chocolate is consumed and the type of chocolate. White chocolate is the safest because it has the least amount of theobromine which is what is poisonous to dogs. However, the danger in feeding any chocolate at all to a dog is that the pooch can develop a taste for it and take chocolate treat-seeking measures into his or her own paws. petMD has a helpful chocolate toxicity meter.
It’s pretty hard to screw up the good-will vibes a picture of a little boy and his dog normally produces but once again, Prince William and Kate Middleton have managed to provoke another backlash with well-intended PR photos they hired a professional to shoot.
After Kate’s Mittengate, it was reported that Prince William and Kate Middleton had selected the ski-holiday photos themselves. In the past I’ve hypothesized that either the Cambridge’s Communications Secretary, Jason Knauf, has gone missing or is the most evil adversary the British Royal Family has ever faced. The reality appears to be even more unfathomable. According to a Daily Beast article written in the aftermath of the disappointing Royal Tour of India and Bhutan, Jason Knauf makes around a mere £60,000 while other Press Office staffers are being paid around £30,000. That kind of money doesn’t buy a lot of fucks for employees to give and no one in my opinion with the kind of experience required to manage the public image of a future Head of State and his wife would take a salary that low.
Curiously, a recent Daily Mail article revealed that the the chief executive of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry makes around £150,000. Last year, there was outrage in the UK when it was revealed several charity chief executives were making more than six figures. The article indicated, “While cutting the amount it handed out to charities, the foundation increased its spending on staff. Costs for its 14 employees rose by almost £60,000 in 2015 to more than £914,000.” So staffing costs were about half the £1.76 million actually given to charities.
With many questioning the role of the monarchy in modern times, it is curious the Cambridges are underpaying their spin doctors while overpaying those working in a field in which high salaries are often a red flag to potential donors. A proper PR rep would make sure the Cambridges didn’t release controversial photos on platforms in which outrage can be spread with a couple of clicks.
If the British Monarchy wants to use terms like The Kate Effect and The George Effect to justify its cost to taxpayers, then it must also acknowledge the impact its actions have on the public. According to a Daily Mail article, the shirt Prince George was wearing in his third birthday photos sold out in an hour. The potential damage caused by those who might mimic the actions of the young prince will never be known nor can it be adequately measured in pounds because for most of us, our dogs are members of our family.