November 30, 2021

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Britain’s Royal Family issues rare rebuke to BBC over documentary on Prince William and Harry


London, November 23

Britain’s Royal Family on Tuesday issued a rare joint statement against the use of unnamed sources in response to a new BBC documentary on Prince William and Harry’s relationship with the media.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Buckingham Palace, her son and heir Prince Charles’ Clarence House and Prince William’s Kensington Palace offices sent the statement for inclusion in the first of a two-part documentary entitled ‘The Princes and the Press’, aired on Monday.

The show, presented by Indian-origin BBC journalist Amol Rajan, alluded to royal sources speaking to journalists behind the scenes.

“A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy,” the joint statement by the royals reads.

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

The documentary is described as telling the story “of one of the most dramatic periods in modern royal history” and traces how brothers William – the Duke of Cambridge – and Harry – the Duke of Sussex – dealt with the media in recent years.

A private investigator, Gavin Burrows, apologised on the show for targeting Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy for surveillance when they were dating.

Burrows told the programme there was much greater interest in Prince Harry than in Prince William when he began working for the erstwhile ‘News of the World’ tabloid in 2000.

“As explained to me by a couple of editors, Harry had basically become the new Diana,” he told the show, with reference to William and Harry’s mother Princess Diana who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

During the programme, a lawyer for Harry’s wife—Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex—responded to alleged reports dating back to 2018 of her palace staff being under pressure.

“Those stories were false. This narrative that no one can work for the Duchess of Sussex, she was too difficult and demanding as a boss and everyone had to leave, it’s just not true,” Jenny Afia, from the law firm Schillings, told Rajan in the documentary.

The final part of the documentary, to be aired on BBC next Monday, will examine the period from 2018 to 2021. — PTI