Everything related to the upcoming royal wedding is giving rise to discussion. We had barely gotten over the news that Prince William would not be wearing a ring post his wedding and that the 29 April wedding would not include a chariot procession, when the next ball dropped. The latest on the William and Kate wedding is that the couple has personally invited Jon Zammett, public relations head of German car manufacturer Audi to the highly exclusive 29 April wedding breakfast. Zammett will be left rubbing shoulders with no less than the Queen at the much-awaited event.
The invite extended to Zammett is being honored with plenty of public scrutiny. But one cannot ignore how the Royal Family has benefitted from their ties with Audi over the last decade. They have had access to special leasing and ownership deals that have not been extended to other regular clients of the German car manufacturer.
Prince Charles himself owns a fleet of luxury cars from Audi. His A8 luxury limo is worth £92,500. Plus, his staff are allowed to drive some of his other Audis. Apparently, his Audi runs on a biodiesel made from used cooking oil. Meanwhile the Queen, Prince William, Kate Middleton, William’s brother Prince Harry also either own or lease an Audi each. William’s Audi is a S4 4.2 litre V8 saloon worth £23,000 while Harry’s is a black three-door Audi A3 turbo-diesel, worth £18,000. Audi actually personally delivers the cars to their homes. But it is not just the special service. The British royals are given big discounts specially tailored for them. The Royal Family’s Audi connection goes further. Apparently, William drove an Audi to his future in-laws’ home in 2009 during his first public visit to their home.
If that was not good enough reason for Zammett to get an invite to the royal wedding, there is more. Audi is a major sponsor of the annual charity polo matches that are organized by the Royal Family Princes. In 2010, an Audi team played against the Princes at Coworth Park in Berkshire, an event which was attended by the likes of singer Natalie Imbruglia and actor Matt LeBlanc. Audi had spent plenty on that high profile event, from organizing a champagne reception to a lunch. There were royals, there were trustees, there were movie and singing stars. This was high-end wining and dining.
In fact, Zammett built his connections with the Princes via the polo matches. A former Chelsea School of Arts fine arts student, Zammett formerly headed the PR department at another car company, Seat UK.
However, in political circles, the invite extended to Zammett is meeting with a degree of disapproval. The Liberal Democrat MP from Birmingham Yardley, John Hemming, said that the royal wedding was essentially a public affair with international public figures and ambassadors in attendance. He found it odd that the representative of a foreign car manufacturer is being invited to the 29 April do, while Brit car makers could not manage an invite. Clearly, the idea of the Audi PR sharing space with such personalities is not being welcomed.