You missed it Prince Charles!
Quick analysis – Prince Charles’ tribute speech to Her Majesty, The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Opening with the formal, “Your Majesty”, Prince Charles paused, and affectionally added, “mummy”.
And just like that, he won our attention, and our hearts. He went from from being seen as ‘on a pedestal’ - The Prince of Wales, and future King to – a being a human being, a man, and even boy – as he spoke about his mum, in such high regard, and with special fondness.
Finding common ground so early on, allowed us all to lean in, to feel that somehow we could all relate to him and to the Queen, as we considered (perhaps unconsciously), our own relationship with our mum, or someone who might’ve been a motherly figure in our lives.
A beautiful tribute indeed. However, in my view, there was one part that someone should have corrected him on before he delivered.
The now outdated, and unacceptable address,
“ladies and gentlemen”
I’m willing to bet that out of the 22,000 at the Party at the Palace, and of the millions, if not billions watching globally, there would’ve been a large number of people that don’t identify as either.
While I do identify as a woman, even I sat there thinking, you missed it Charles, you will have misgendered so many, by still referring to a binary specific term that is exclusionary.
He missed an opportunity to connect in a way that could’ve earned an unwavering respect and a lifetime of loyalty from some, by simply honouring and including everyone.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Our ability to reach unity and diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation”
As speakers, MC’s or online presenters – it’s our role at events, to ensure that we’re mindful of the diversity in our audience, and to ensure that there is inclusivity.
Instead of ‘ladies and gentlemen’, perhaps try; everyone here, distinguished guests, folks, all you wonderful people or find an adjective for your audience that they can identify with.
If you’re at a polo game, perhaps it’s – all the horse champions here today! Or legends of the horse riders - something that could be fun, playful and yet still honour everyone.
And test it out before you use it with the event organiser, or someone that you trust that would be a part of this audience.
Before writing this article, I had to ensure that I Googled all the formal labels and introductions to The Royal Family.
Who do I call what, what’s in caps, when do I use which term etc.
I believe that it is our responsibility to do the same when addressing any audience.
"There is no room, and little excuse for not making it a priority to honour and include, everyone."
After all, how else can we create authentic connection?
What are some phrases you think we could add to this list, or that you've used?