Far more intriguing than the phone hacking story is what's happening at Court Murdoch.

The royal family, with emperor Keith Rupert I at its head, is underrated but successful like no other - growing the kingdom from a small newspaper in Adelaide, Australia, to a multibillion-dollar, intercontinental franchise.

People snub Keith Rupert but let's face facts: He's done far better than the vast majority who inherit a newspaper.

The family reportedly owns more than 40 percent of News Corp.'s voting shares, and they're not about to watch the empire disappear because of a few bad servants.

Think what you will of the Murdochs. But they're no Bancrofts.

They'll will do what's necessary to win, including sacrificing - as they've shown -their most trusted lieutenants.

Like any good emperor, Keith Rupert is a man's man. He's got two wives - ex-empress Anna plus a relatively new one, Wendi, and each retains a vested interest in News Corp. successfully overcoming this scandal.

Anna is likely giving her former husband an earful because she's worried about the futures of their mutual interests - namely the children, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James.

The only thing dampening Wendi's worries is that their children are school age. Still, money is in the kids' horizon, and it's driving Wendi's thoughts and actions.

Then there is Prudence, the daughter Keith Rupert had with his first wife, the late Patricia Booker.

Mounting legal issues will force the Murdochs into decisions they never expected.

That's because every royal family, at some point, sacrifices a family member.

The IRA took out the House of Windsor's Louis Mountbatten, Andrew was offered, but survived, the Falklands War in 1982 and today, Windsor is offering, again it seems, Harry for another tour of duty in Afghanistan.

A royal sacrifice makes the rulers look like the ruled and, better yet, it keeps them in power.

So James - having given it a go - will lose his position with News Corp. It's not because he did anything illegal.

His lack of actions investigating the phone hacking charges makes him damaged goods.

Lachlan had his run at the New York Post and that didn't turn out so well either, which is why he's far removed from the action, living in Australia.

So what's to be done?

Taking over

Lurking on the horizon is no Lady-in-Waiting. Elisabeth kept her distance from News Corp. for some very calculated reasons.

She knew to let her brothers go first because they'd fail. She also knew something better than anyone else: She's got the old man's personality.

Which is why she owned a television station and only worked briefly at News Corp. before starting her own television production company, now owned by the family firm.

Eventually, it'll occur to everyone, including the emperor, that the only family member who can succeed him - because of her personality and work experience - is Elisabeth.

James and Lachlan will support her because it keeps the family in charge. Same goes for Wendi. Prudence, the daughter who's so rarely mentioned, will become her half-sister's biggest ally.

Elisabeth won't get the top job immediately. That will go to Chase Carey, the company's COO, in the near term. But she'll be right next to him, learning the ropes and timing her coronation.

Elisabeth knows sitting on the board is risky now, which is why she's delaying taking the seat. Besides, if she took it now, four Murdochs would crowd the table, and a family member could be forced out.

It won't be her.

It's best for Elisabeth to bide her time.

As for becoming the company's future CEO, News Corp.'s board of directors, especially the independent ones, will have an easy time handing Elisabeth the throne because she's not tainted by the scandal.

Her gender also shows that News Corp. is serious about cleaning up its act.

Elisabeth will then sell or shut down The Sun, focusing all of News Corp.'s efforts on the venerated (London) Times and Sunday Times. The Murdochs need The Times the same way they need The Wall Street Journal.

That move will show that News Corp., in the U.K. at least, publishes respectable newspapers, keeps the company as an influential player in U.K. politics, and the paper's content can be used for The Daily, the iPad paper.

The only downside to Elisabeth is that she hasn't worked at a newspaper.

Which brings up questions about News Corp.'s ability to publish successful newspapers in the future. Will the Murdochs lose sight of them the way the Bancrofts lost sight of theirs?

In the meantime, God save the Queen!


Doug Page blogs about the news industry. He can be reached at dpagenewsandtech@gmail.com.


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