Tensions between the royal family and the BBC are said to be running high ahead of the airing of a controversial new documentary tonight.
The two-part series, called The Princes and the Press, is expected to include accusations that William and Harry engaged in a briefing war over the younger prince’s decision to quit his role as a senior royal.
William has reportedly joined forces with the Queen and Prince Charles to complain about the programme and threaten a boycott of future projects because they were not been given a preview of the show before it airs to the nation.
Fronted by Today presenter Amol Rajan, the series looks at how the princes’ relationship with the media changed following the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Its second episode focuses on the tumultuous period between 2018 and 2021 and there’s said to be particular nervousness over whether it will repeat allegations that Prince William’s aides briefed negative stories about Harry to newspapers.
These same claims had to be removed at the last minute from an ITV documentary earlier this year after a similar outcry from the royals – who said it was defamatory.
Palace sources have consistently denied that any briefing took place as they didn’t want to be dragged into a ‘public war of words.’
A senior royal source told the Daily Mail that the documentary was ‘tittle-tattle’ but it had left the Queen ‘upset’.
Critics have questioned the timing of the series, with the monarch still only undertaking light duties after weeks of health concerns.
It also comes just months after fresh revelations surrounding former BBC journalist Martin Bashir’s ‘deceitful’ interview with Princess Diana.
An inquiry in May criticised the way faked documents were used to obtain the interview and the ‘woeful failings’ of subsequent investigations into what happened.
The BBC’s guidelines are understood to require all news and current affairs documentaries to offer rights of reply as appropriate.
But the former head of TV News, Roger Mosey, pushed back on suggestions the programme should have been shown to palace officials in advance.
He tweeted: ‘It scarcely needs saying, but the BBC is absolutely right not to show previews of documentaries to Palace officials.’
The corporation has declined to comment on any conversations it may have had with the royals over the documentary.
A spokesperson said: ‘The programme is about how royal journalism is done and features a range of journalists from broadcast and the newspaper industry.’
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