News, Culture & Society

Royal Family issue extraordinary joint statement blasting BBC for The Princes and the Press series

The BBC was accused of giving credibility to ‘overblown and unfounded claims’ about the Royal Family last night as it broadcast a controversial documentary about William and Harry.

In an extraordinary joint statement, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House said it was ‘disappointing’ that the broadcaster had chosen to air allegations surrounding Harry and Meghan’s departure from Britain.

Lawyers for the Royal Family were on standby over the two-part BBC2 series, which included claims that insiders from other royal households had briefed against the Sussexes.

Buckingham Palace has reportedly threatened a boycott on future projects with the BBC after courtiers were not allowed to view the programme before the first episode was aired last night.

In the strongly-worded joint statement given to the BBC ahead of last night’s programme, representatives for the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William said: ‘A free, responsible and open Press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy.

However, too often overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.’

In the strongly-worded joint statement given to the BBC ahead of last night’s programme, representatives for the Queen (pictured), Prince Charles and Prince William said: ‘A free, responsible and open Press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy

The BBC was accused of giving credibility to ‘overblown and unfounded claims’ about the Royal Family last night as it broadcast a controversial documentary about William and Harry (pictured in July 2018)

The BBC was accused of giving credibility to ‘overblown and unfounded claims’ about the Royal Family last night as it broadcast a controversial documentary about William and Harry (pictured in July 2018)

The episode featured Dan Wootton who spoke about his story, which became known as 'Tiaragate'

It also featured Jenny Afia a lawyer from Schillings who works with the Duchess of Sussex

The episode featured Dan Wootton who spoke about his story, which became known as ‘Tiaragate’. It also featured Jenny Afia a lawyer from Schillings who works with the Duchess of Sussex

Last night’s first episode of The Princes and The Press detailed media coverage of the young royals from 2012 to 2018, when Harry and Meghan became engaged. It included claims of ‘competitiveness’ between the different royal households.

Journalist Omid Scobie, co-author of the controversial biography of the Sussexes, Finding Freedom, said negative stories had been leaked about Meghan, although he did not name those involved. ‘There were some people who felt she [Meghan] needed to be put in her place.

I think by leaking a negative story, that’s punishment,’ he said. ‘There’s been rumours for quite some time that a lot of the most damaging and negative stories… have come from other royal households or from other royal aides. From my own research and reporting that’s exactly true.’

It is understood that the BBC provided a written memo, outlining relevant allegations, but refused requests to provide an advance copy of the two hour-long episodes.

Insiders said the rift between William and Harry will be examined in even greater detail in next week’s instalment.

Royal advisers believe the Queen, Charles and William have not been offered a proper right to reply.

They fear the BBC’s decision to include them in a documentary, fronted by self-declared republican Amol Rajan, will give its claims a level of legitimacy.

In an extraordinary joint statement, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House said it was ‘disappointing’ that the broadcaster had chosen to air allegations surrounding Harry and Meghan’s (pictured with Prince William and Kate Middleton in March 2020) departure from Britain

In an extraordinary joint statement, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House said it was ‘disappointing’ that the broadcaster had chosen to air allegations surrounding Harry and Meghan’s (pictured with Prince William and Kate Middleton in March 2020) departure from Britain

Last night’s programme included an interview with private detective Gavin Burrows, who admitted he had targeted Harry’s ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy.

He said she was subjected to voicemail hacking and surveillance after she started dating the prince in 2004, as Harry had become ‘the new Diana’ due to the level of tabloid interest in his life.

Mr Burrows said he worked for the now-defunct News of the World and other newspapers, and told the BBC: ‘There was a lot of voicemail hacking going on, there was a lot of surveillance work on her phones, on her comms.’

He apologised for his part in targeting Miss Davy, who is now married, and for the impact on Harry, saying: ‘I was basically part of a group of people who robbed him of his normal teenage years.’

He is now a witness in a legal action over alleged phone-hacking being brought by Prince Harry and others against the publisher of the News of the World, News Group Newspapers, which disputes his claims.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk