Royal Pains and other Gains
I am not usually one to dwell on “media sensations”, but you cannot truly escape what is going on around the world, especially something as catchy as a Royal Interview about the insurmountable suffering of being royal, privileged, famous, AND one high profile set of targets, facing a wide array of threats and Risks.
Moving the conversation to our field, that of Security and Risk Management, what can we see? What becomes evident throughout the narrative of Harry and Meghan? Something that does not really come as a surprise, and something the late princess Diana, knew all too well: with fame comes attention, with attention comes risk, with risk comes security, and so the story goes.
So, what else did we see clashing other than an older generation with the younger one? British culture clashing with US culture, Royalty clamoring with Peasantry? There are a million ways we can describe the conflict of narratives between the Palace and the young couple, and to be fair only one or two are relevant to our industry.
What we can see here is a conflict that has been evident in our field at least since the 9/11 attacks. Two very different ways of looking at and executing security. The one old fashioned, military-oriented, operationally minded, requiring planning, detailed schedules, strict adherence to the plan. Nice and firm on paper, ticking the boxes, and yet lacking in one significant aspect: that of preventing the principal (the target), the client, the person from ever having any sense of normalcy ever again!
Was the couple safe at their Royal residence? Were they safe in the Palace? Were they safe in their Royal engagements? Most probably yes! Were several risks eliminated by “locking them up”? Of course! But were they able to function as people under this security regime? Were they able for an impromptu decision? A whimsical visit for shopping? A trip? Most definitely not!
What if a lot of the negativity and toxicity presented through the Oprah interview is the result of a strict, inflexible, outdated model of Security? What if the feeling of being trapped is a quite literal one, created and perpetuated by sets of military rules and operational plans that have little room for self-determination?
Shouldn’t we have involved a security practitioner to be able to provide security services that still allow our clients to function within society as normal as possible? Shouldn’t we be able to design and offer solutions that keep people safe, but also recognize the plurality of who they are? Royalty, yet spouses, mothers, fathers, friends, colleagues, inspirational figures, human beings.
Unfortunately, we are not there yet. But it is where we strive to go in Al Thuraya and in the sector; to go to a place where you are safe but not restricted. Free and yet protected! Treated like royalty but able to live a safe and content life, navigate everyday life, navigate the realities, the uncertainty, the sudden change, the crisis, the happy and the sad while being taken care of by a firm that realizes you are more than a title, you are an individual!