OK, Prince Harry, here’s the beef. In two months time you’ll be standing in front of hundreds of people, faced with a notoriously nerve-wracking bit of public speaking. For mere mortals, the best man’s speech is bad enough. For you, it’s unimaginably terrifying. You’ve got to be touching but witty, confident but humble. You’ve got to tease your brother but flatter him at the same time. And all this in front of some of the most famous and powerful people on the planet. For someone more prone to gaffs than most of us, it’s one heck of a challenge.
Luckily, Great Speech Writing has much experience in the art of getting it right.
Here are some top speech tips to spare the royal blushes:
– Pace yourself. This is Buckingham Palace, not Mahiki, You need a clear head rather than Dutch courage.
– Give any costumes a wide berth, particularly anything featuring army uniforms or black face paint.
– Ignore advice from certain well-meaning friends. They haven’t got it right in the past and they won’t come to your rescue now.
– Avoid referring to the bride and groom by any tabloid nicknames – eg Waity Katy.
– Don’t mention ‘doors to manual’. In fact, avoid talking about air travel altogether to be on the safe side.
– Try not to mention the couple’s ‘break’. However harmless the joke sounds to you, it will almost certainly result in glares – and possibly tears – from the bride.
– Keep it short. This way, there is far less room for error.
– Don’t forget to thank everyone who needs thanking, particularly the Queen – but don’t call her Granny!
Digested all the above? Then you’re ready for the next stage.
Here are five key points you need to include
1. Telegrams. It falls to the best man to deliver these and when the stash at your disposal could include missives from Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela, you’d be mad to pass up the opportunity to litter your speech with the words of some of the greatest living orators.
2. Toasts. Another good way to get through a few minutes at the podium. It falls to the best man to thank the bridesmaids. Keep it brief and clean – strictly no lecherous Harry remarks about the best man and chief bridesmaid.
3. The happy couple. Another toast, and the most important of all. Focus, here, Harry. You need to give it gravitas. It’s about two people becoming one, etc, but avoid the words ‘two people’ and ‘marriage’ in the same sentence. There’s a small chance it will jolt your audience’s memories back to a certain 1996 Panorama interview featuring the infamous ‘three people in this marriage’ remark. Red faces all round.
4. Thank ever so. When all else fails, thanking is your safety net. Nobody can object to effusive gratitude, except, that is, if you forget to thank someone. Stick to the key players and sound like you mean it.
5. Prince Charming. This is where it gets tricky. Be funny by all means, but only if it isn’t going to offend. Go easy on his military exploits – this will have a very limited audience – but big up his adventurous and charitable side. And don’t forget to mention his bride – a cheesy line about him finding his Queen is just the thing.
And that’s that. With applause ringing in your ears, you can drag Chelsy off to the dance floor – sorry, ballroom – and throw some moves. Rock on, Harry.
And if you’d like some help, please feel free to call me on +44 (0)207 118 1600!