Princes and the Press: Prince William left feeling 'very raw'
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William and Kate have banned the BBC from broadcasting their Christmas carol concert as tensions remain high over a controversial royal documentary. The charity fundraiser, which the Duchess is hosting at Westminster Abbey, will instead be shown on ITV. With Kate hosting, William is expected to watch on proudly from the wings, while Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis could all be in attendance.
The move comes after the BBC aired the first of the two-part documentary ‘The Princes and the Press’ on Monday night.
The documentary, hosted by the corporation’s media editor Amol Rajan, featured interviews with high-profile journalists including Andrew Marr and Ian Hislop, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s lawyer Jenny Afia.
Monday’s episode included a suggestion that rivalries between royal households were at play, and that negative stories about Meghan had been leaked by courtiers.
The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell told the broadcaster’s website that there is “undoubtedly irritation” over the documentary, with William still “really quite aggrieved” at the Panorama interview with his mother Princess Diana.
BBC chairman Richard Sharp told the Voice of the Listener and Viewer’s autumn conference: “From time to time, this organisation produces programmes which may or may not meet with full agreement with different parts of the establishment.”
He did, however, address the importance of the Royal Family in the UK, saying it is “at the centre of our identity”.
On Wednesday night’s ITV News at Ten programme, the BBC debacle was covered by royal editor Chris Ship.
Before handing over to Mr Ship, the programme’s anchor Rageh Omaar said: “It could, of course, just be a coincidence.
“But, within a couple of days of the first part of a BBC documentary on the relationship Princes William and Harry have had with the press, ITV and not the BBC have been asked to broadcast a carol concert hosted by Kate, William’s wife.”
Mr Ship added: “The filming of the carol service will still go ahead at Westminster Abbey, but the choice of broadcaster has changed.
“The fact is, the televised carol service here only dropped into ITV’s Christmas schedules as late as last week.
“A source at the broadcaster said that was ‘very unusual’.”
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Mr Ship asked whether the BBC was being punished for the controversial documentary.
Answering his own question, he said: “Well, put it this way. I was told today that Prince William is fiercely protective of his staff and this is exactly the sort of thing he would do.”
William did not watch the documentary on Monday night, as he was presenting the environmental Tusk Awards at London’s South Bank.
However, a source told The Sun earlier this week that the documentary will have stirred up tensions, with the current row only the beginning.
The source said: “It was all arranged to be on BBC One but it was switched in the last few days because of the terrible row over the documentary.
“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 second part of the documentary, which airs on Monday night, examines the period between 2018 and 2021.
It will cover the privacy actions Harry and Meghan have launched against the British press, as well as delving into the brothers’ rift.
The BBC is also releasing a four-part podcast series, ‘Harry, Meghan and the Media’, with the first episode out on Monday.
The ongoing row comes after William slammed the Beeb for allowing Martin Bashir to deceitfully organise the interview with Diana.
According to the Queen’s former press secretary Charles Anson, the infamous interview sparked the beginning of giving the majority of royal programmes to the national broadcaster.
He told ITV: “The Panorama interview accelerated the wish within the Palace to share the task of making the Christmas broadcast with ITV.”
Express.co.uk has approached Buckingham and Kensington Palace for comment.
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