Congratulations William. You’ve just taken charge of your third child, you’re snoozing off on duty and then your brother asks you to be his best man. What a week! There’s a stag do to organise and ‘Prince William’s best man speech’ will be trending on social media from this point on. You might as well forget sleep for a while.
It doesn’t seem long ago that I was offering your brother advice on his speech at your wedding. And that was simple compared to this one. After all, this is a best man speech about your action man younger brother. A man whose history includes naked romps in Vegas, dressing-up as a Nazi and keeping the staff at Boujis busy all year round. And he’s still the most popular royal (until his wife jumps into pole next month).
So how do you position the best man speech for a real lad? Particularly when that lad is also your brother.
- Be relevant. That means thinking about your entire audience, not just the boys and the Duke of Edinburgh. Harry may have lived his single life to the full, but it’s best covering the really tasty bits through a mixture of euphemism and innuendo. I doubt Grandma really wants to hear the sordid details.
- Create a theme. Don’t just launch into Harry-related stories. Work out what defines him and then build the speech around it. The Beast who has found his beauty? The soldier with a heart? The misunderstood brother? Memories and anecdotes work so much better when they are linked to a central theme.
- Decide what balance you want to create between humour and sincerity. It’s a myth that a groom needs to be sensible and a best man riotously funny. Yes, your role is to entertain but also to balance that with some thoughtful and (appropriately) emotional insights into your lives together.
- Don’t forget the bride. It’s a typical best man blunder. The speech is thoughtful, funny and clever. But it is about the wrong relationship. He’s your brother and we’re celebrating his marriage to someone else. So don’t forget to describe how he has (hopefully) become a better and happier person since they met. Welcome her into the family and endorse the choice your brother has made.
- Keep it snappy. There are lots of trite quotes online about the ideal length of a speech. We don’t do cut-and-paste, but we do love brevity. Plan it, write it and then edit it down. Read at the right pace, a ten minute speech is approximately 1200 words long. That’s a very simple point overlooked by many, many best men.
- Avoid the internet. To be fair, William has probably learned that lesson long ago, but just remember that any joke that looks brilliant online has probably been used many times before. And once the guests think you have pilfered one joke, they’ll doubt any of the material is yours.
- And if you are going to make the obvious pun – you can refer to the lack of hair to the throne. But please do it in a self-deprecating way!
- It’s no secret that there has been tragedy in your past. It requires a fine balance to touch on your Mum without casting a shadow over the speech. Speak to Harry. Decide which of you is going to take-on that burden. And on a day like this, focus on the positives (how much she’d have loved Meghan) rather than the desperate sadness that you will, no doubt, be feeling once again.
We hope that this is going to be a cracker of a reception – not least because the bride should be speaking. She is one hell of a public speaker, so Prince William’s best man speech is really going to have to hit the heights. All it really needs is some planning, some structuring, some writing, some editing and some rehearsing. And if there’s no time to do it properly, we are here – as ever – to help!