Is the Middleton family participating in a ‘VIP scheme’ for discounted Range Rovers?

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This will show you how American I am: I am so used to American public figures having security personnel function as drivers that it never occurred to me that British public figures would get to choose their own drivers, their own cars, their own “official” rides. Like, Pres. Obama only rides in an up-armored, bomb-proof limo because that’s what the Secret Service demands for his security. Same with many high-profile Americans (who receive threats, etc) – their private security will provide armored cars or SUVs and all that jazz. But when it comes to the royal family (and the royal family-adjacent), it’s a bit more laissez faire. Apparently, they get to choose their own cars/SUVs, and they get to participate in “VIP schemes” offered by certain car companies. According to the Daily Mail, the Middleton family – and maybe even the Queen?! – has entered into one of these “VIP schemes” with Range Rover.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s family has joined an elite group of famous people signed up to Range Rover’s exclusive VIP scheme. Kate’s mother Carole Middleton, brother James and sister Pippa are all enjoying the use of their very own top-of-the-range, four-wheel-drive Range Rovers in return for acting as unofficial ambassadors for the company.

The exclusive lease scheme has attracted criticism in the past for signing up celebrities such as fashion designer Henry Holland and model Daisy Lowe to effectively advertise the cars by tweeting and writing blogs about them.

Although the cars are not provided entirely free of charge, it is understood that the Middletons pay a fraction of the normal amount.

‘The Middletons’ Range Rovers have been leased to them as part of the VIP scheme,’ a source revealed. ‘The idea is that you pay a small percentage of the usual fee in return for certain services – which can be as little as being seen driving around in the vehicle. Being associated with royalty does wonders for the brand.’

It isn’t just Kate’s mother and siblings who are happily demonstrating their allegiance to the luxury carmaker.

When choosing a car to carry his wife and new baby home from hospital, Prince William plumped for a new Range Rover worth about £140,000 – eschewing the Royal Family’s long-standing agreement with Audi.

And when navigating the off-road terrain at Balmoral during a recent visit to the Scottish Royal residence, the Queen also opted to take the wheel of a Range Rover. The Duke of Edinburgh was later seen driving a Land Rover Freelander, part of the same stable of vehicles.

[From The Daily Mail]

Is this tacky? I really can’t decide. The fact that the Queen and Prince Phillip have been spotted in Range Rovers makes it less tacky, I guess. It makes it seem less like “Carole Middleton is participating in some scheme that nets her family free Range Rovers” and more like “the royal family and the royal family-adjacent have simply changed car brands.” I didn’t even realize that the royal family HAD a “long-standing agreement with Audi,” although in retrospect, I guess that makes sense. Wasn’t William’s first car (at university) an Audi? I think it was. But I believe Prince Charles prefers a Jaguar. Anyway, I thought Duchess Kate made a big deal about not accepting freebies? We still don’t have evidence that she (personally) accepted a freebie, although I think it’s interesting that William chose to drive Kate and Prince George away from the hospital in the same model Range Rover that Middleton family members are now driving. Hm.

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Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

 

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42 Responses to “Is the Middleton family participating in a ‘VIP scheme’ for discounted Range Rovers?”

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  1. Suze says:

    There are money-making opportunities everywhere!

  2. KromBoom says:

    Cool! So the next time we see Kate’s skirt fly up we might see the words “PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION FURNISHED BY RANGE ROVER”.

    p.s. I love Kate’s legs. If I had her legs I’d be walking in the wind all day. But I don’t like her family’s cash-grabby, peerage-grabby style.

  3. Egla says:

    My very first car was a Volkswagen of 1982……it was a dream come true to have my car. I want to be rich and famous if only for the freebies…it must be fun to afford some things but still have the offer to pay less and save the money that we poor people can’t. Ehhhh…..rich people problems

  4. blue marie says:

    This annoys me, but I’m not sure why..

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Me, too! My first thought was, “ugh, the Middletons are so tacky, of course they would do this,” but I can’t really say what’s wrong with doing it. It just annoys me.

    • HH says:

      Same here. Whether these arrangements are participated in by royalty or royalty-adjacent individuals doesn’t matter to me. I take issue with how the royals want to distinguish themselves from celebrities while still getting the same perks. They want more respect and more privacy than celebrities, but then we turn around and hear stories such as this. This idea of it’s tacky to take freebies, but deep discounts are okay is just absurd. The idea that “I want to be seen as normal” but I’ll keep the nannies, butlers, maids, luxury cars, multiple estates, luxury vacations, etc. is silly. In return they just act on behalf of God and country. I can’t buy into that trade-off. I must add, however, that I’m American and obviously the tradition and history that goes along with royalty is something I don’t find myself “attached” to in a way that their respective citizens may see it. Perhaps I just need to meet and/or experience royalty to understand. Hopefully someone will come along and elaborate. :)

      EDIT: I must add that the idea of wanting to be seen as a normal is very much a William and Harry thing. I don’t see other royals touching on that notion as much as I do these two.

    • karmasabiatch! says:

      You’re annoyed because this is a non-story.

  5. BeckyR says:

    The MIddleton family do not need freebies. They are wealthy from their own ingenuity and hard work. They may lease their cars, but I doubt they need to participate any scheme such as this. Read this article in British paper days ago..it seems unfair to keep targeting them as they seem to be a nice family who would go unnoticed in the press if their daughter was not married to WIlliam.

  6. Thinker says:

    Yes it’s tacky. It also makes little sense. How does an association with James Middleton do any brand any good. His own company is fiscally unsound.

    This is just another perk William bestowed the Middletons, along with that big ole manor house he bought them. Carole placed her bets wisely.

  7. G says:

    I think they have always used Range Rovers. It’s iconically British. Even in the animated movie Cars 2 a few years back, the villain is a Range Rover and they make an attempt on the queen and all her security are rovers if I remembering correctly.

  8. LadySlippers says:

    William’s first car was a VW.

    It doesn’t surprise me there is a deal with automakers and VIPs. I’m sure there are comparable ones here in the States too. As an example, Volvo has one for the military.

  9. Jacqueline says:

    Is this even a big deal? I think the use of the word “scheme” is more British and something we would just call an “arrangement” or “agreement” here in the US. It isn’t any different from celebrities wearing a designer’s clothes for free or Tweeting about a certain brand – only it’s the Middletons. They’re always going to be scrutinized.

  10. Suze says:

    It appears that the royals do this as well, so it’s not just the Midds grabbing money.

    This is how the royal family got so darn rich – they’ve always had an eye for a money-making opportunity.

  11. hellena says:

    On one hand, they get bashed if the Royals spend too much tax money. On the other hand they get bashed for using Range Rovers ( a brand that’s part of Jaguar/Land Rover, which the Queen has used for decades…). But the Middletons…? They could use their own money, that’s for sure.

  12. Kate says:

    The Queens used Range Rovers for decades. I doubt she arranged any type of deal, Range Rover is quintessentially British (though it’s now a subsidiary of an Indian manufacturer) and it’s part of her role to promote things like that. The Middletons and William on the other hand just love a good freebie.

  13. Audrey says:

    Gas guzzler

    Just get a nice little prius or something.

  14. Hautie says:

    No matter how much b*tching and moaning I see here… the simple fact is… The Middleton family will forever be hounded by the press. It would have made no difference who William had married. The girls family… was always going to be a magnet for the tacky British media, to scrutinize for the rest of their entire life.

    So what, if Range Rover came to them and offer a greatly discounted vehicle for their use. Good for them. The Middleton’s can’t fart without the media there to capture it.

    They might as well drive a good looking SUV.

    I see it as a trade off for having no privacy. They will never be able to leave the house again, without some weirdo with a camera hanging out in front of the drive. Might as well look good in a new Range Rover. *Beep*Beep*

  15. realitycheck says:

    Pippa is not attractive at all, i seriously can’t stand her face, neither is kate for that matter. These women are not beautiful. I wish advertising wouldn’t push their faces in ours everyday.

  16. LAK says:

    Kate drives range rovers as well. Has done for years.

  17. A says:

    I’m fine with what you might call “real life product placement” as long as it doesn’t involve active promotion (ads, tweets, whatever). After all, they have to drive SOME sort of car, and some company is going to get publicity out of the fame of the royal family and the Middletons. Why shouldn’t they get a cut of the benefits? But an ad or something like that would be tacky use of the royal connection.

  18. Montréalise says:

    I think the Middletons should be more conscious of their public image. They are already seen by many as being opportunistic social climbers who aren’t shy about exploiting their royal connection – and this deal with Range Rover just reinforces that. And before you say “Who cares what the public thinks”?, anything the Middletons do reflects on Will and Kate – that’s why they asked Pippa to stop her self-promotion.