Kate and William 'undignified' in BBC row says Stadlen
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The Royal Family has banned the BBC from showing their Christmas carol concert in what is thought to be a form of retaliation against the broadcaster for the new documentary exploring the troubled relationship of Prince Harry and Prince William with the British press. The rights will instead go to ITV.
In the first episode of Princes and the Press, which aired on Monday, it emerged William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex had briefed against one another during “Megxit”.
Co-author of Finding Freedom Omid Scobie Omid Scobie appeared in the programme saying: “There has been a lot of rumour for some time that a lot of the most damaging and negative stories about Harry and Meghan, that have ended up in the pages of the press, have come from the other royal households or from other royal aides or courtiers.
“From my own experience that is true.”
ITV on Wednesday confirmed they will broadcast the royal carol concert in the days before Christmas.
It will be recorded at Westminster Abbey in early December.
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With contracts still under negotiation, ITV sources said they were only made aware of the commission at the end of last week. One claimed: “It was unusual for it to come to us this late.”
This is why the network has not yet officially announced the concert as part of its Christmas schedule.
A source told The Sun: “It was all arranged to be on BBC1 but it was switched in the last few days because of the terrible row over the documentary.
“Naturally most royal programming goes automatically to the BBC as the national broadcaster. Now it looks like they will work more with ITV in the future.
“And things are likely to get a lot worse between the Royal Family and the BBC before they get better as the second part of the documentary threatens to go further.”
The decision to move the programme onto a different channel has sparked criticism towards the Firm – in particular, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.
Kate Bevan, a royal commentator, took to Twitter to say to her more than 20,000 Twitter followers: “I’m usually fairly agnostic about having a monarchy, and generally of the view that the Queen is a Good Thing, but honestly, stuff like this makes me think they should be abolished once the Queen has gone.”
One user, under the name @PippaBlack83, wrote: “There are many documentaries about them four and they’re always favourable to the Cambridges.
“One doesn’t go their way and they’re throwing a tantrum.”
A supporter of Meghan and Harry, @SussexRoyalGlow, claimed: “This makes the Cambridges look even worse and confirms the suspicions that they are not only keen but likely to actively put out briefings that are specifically not pro Harry and Meghan.”
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Another one, @carolyn01624551, said: “Confirms what Prince Harry said about the game the institution plays in how he and Meghan were deliberately fed to the lions (press) so other royal courts would look better than them!”
The “game” the user refers to is what BBC Media Editor Amol Rajan describes in the documentary as “the deal”.
He explains members of the Firm, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have long played along with an unwritten arrangement with the media to provide access to information in exchange for favourable coverage.
Mr Rajan said “the royals get to live in palaces” and, as long as they give access to the press, they get favourable coverage.
Royal expert Robert Jobson, author of William at 40, told Australia’s Sunrise this agreement has led to “an awful lot of leaking”.
The BBC approached Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace, representing the households of the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William, for comment.
They provided the following joint statement, which was included at the end of the documentary: “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.”
The Household of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was contacted for comment.
The BBC declined to comment.
The first episode of Princes and the Press is streaming on BBC iPlayer.
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