Over the years I have seen many, many live reports of royal events on television. Some are good, some are less good. It also depends on the channel you watch – I have the choice between German, Belgian, Dutch and British channels. And there are always “experts” that you prefer not to appear as they just talk rubbish.
Often over the past 20 years I was out there somewhere myself, so I would only hear afterwards online what went wrong. Sometimes I watched the report, recorded on my video recorder, when back home. I especially remember complaints about reporters not being able to identify royals. I think so many mistakes were made by Dutch tv-channel NOS during the coverage of the wedding of Crown Prince Haakon and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, that they wanted to have a better expert for the wedding of Prince Willem-Alexander and Máxima Zorreguieta a few months later. I was actually one of the people asked to do the identifications in the studio, but declined as I wanted to be outside.
If you want to do it well, you study the guestlist and figure out what these people look like. But for that there is just limited time of course, as guestlists are often only published days before. I once saw in a press centre that a Spanish photographer had a whole lot of small portraits printed, just to be able to figure out who was who on their pictures. TV over the years has managed to tell that Princess Benedikte of Denmark (no name given) was a sister of King Harald of Norway, and there were much more mistakes like that.
I remember I had a good laugh when watching the German broadcast (ARD or ZDF) of the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson after getting back home. The moderators endlessly went on about one person on the guestlist, Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia. Apparently their screen was so small that when he finally passed, they didn’t recognise him and kept on talking about him being on the guestlist.
The worst live program I ever saw was the Belgian broadcast by VRT Één of the funeral of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, a born Princess of Belgium, in 2005. Very happy that I could see it after all I was glued to my tv-screen. In the end I wasn’t only disappointed, but rather angry, so angry that I actually wrote the tv-channel an email afterwards. Not that I ever received a reply. I am not sure if there was livestream back then, or that I opted for TV, as my French is really abominable.
The footage came from Luxembourg, and there was something wrong with the sound, so one had to turn up the volume to follow the service. However they also had a moderator and an expert, Jan Van den Berghe, in the studio in Belgium. Apparently their sound was also pretty bad, but the worse thing was not that they could be heard much louder than the Luxembourg stream (which was already quite irritating). Not only were they talking too much, they were even gossiping and showed very little respect for the deceased and the event they were reporting about. Viewers could hear everything about Joséphine-Charlotte’s bad relationship with her daughter-in-law Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and all kind of other totally irrelevant things. And that was not before or after the funeral, but all the way through the funeral itself.
I don’t think I have ever seen worse tv-coverage of a royal event – even a funeral – than this one, and I hope I never will. It will be really hard to beat this one.