The Royal Family Releases Statement Slamming Controversial New Documentary

Nov 24, 2021 by apost team

The past few years have been especially tumultuous for the royal family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced in January 2020 that they would be taking a step back from their roles as senior royals, the couple moved to Southern California and the duo openly criticized the royal family in multiple interviews. Following these developments, royal experts have speculated that a rift has grown between Harry and his brother, Prince William.

This rift is the subject of a new multi-part BBC documentary, “The Princes and the Press,” which premiered on Nov. 22 in the U.K. In a rare collective statement from Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House, the royal family denounced the documentary, describing it as a film based on "overblown and unfounded claims." According to Newsweek, the series features interviews with journalists about supposed “leaks from within Kensington Palace” on controversial topics such as “whether Meghan Markle was difficult to work for." The two brothers’ supposedly stormy relationship is also a subject of the documentary. 

William and Harry reunited for the first time since Prince Philip’s April funeral ceremony at Windsor Castle on July 1, coming together at Kensington Palace to commemorate and unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Given the apparent distance that has grown between Harry and the royal family, the event was also notable in that it saw the Duke of Sussex return to his home country — albeit briefly — to be with his brother and other members of the royal family.

Prince Harry, Prince William (2021), (Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

At Princess Diana's statue unveiling, many fans were thus curious if the brotherly tension would send sparks flying. But reports of the July 1 unveiling have commented on the event’s low-key character and the brothers’ friendliness toward one another. But more recent reports on the brothers’ relationship have been more critical — and the royal family is pushing back.

In response to BBC’s two-part “The Princes and the Press” documentary, which is accompanied by a five-part podcast called “Harry, Meghan and the Media,” the royal family released a statement condemning the news organization’s reporting.

"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 statement reads.

The BBC released its own statement in a piece published Tuesday, Nov. 23.

The news organization contends that the documentary is "about how royal journalism is done and features a range of journalists from broadcast and the newspaper industry.”

Amol Rajan, the BBC journalist at the center of “The Princes and the Press,” writes in his own piece that the documentary is the product of over “80 hours of interviews” conducted over the past year.

This isn’t the first time that the BBC has been criticized by the royal family for its reporting. 

In November 1995, the BBC aired a Panorama interview, featuring Princess Diana and the reporter Martin Bashir. The interview came at a time when interest in the marriage troubles of the royal couple was high. In fact, the program was so popular that it precipitated Bashir's career breakthrough.

Princess Diana (1980), (Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images)

Diana spoke to Bashir about her fears during her marriage and the misery and stress she felt from being under the media's scrutiny at all times and having to adhere to strict royal protocols and standards. She confessed previously unknown things, like her struggles with bulimia, self-harm, depression and infidelity.

The interview was controversial at the time, and recent revelations have exposed that Bashir violated the tenets of journalistic integrity.

In May 2021, an independent inquiry headed by retired judge John Dyson found that Bashir gained access to the princess with forged documents. In response, both William and Harry condemned Bashir and the BBC.

“It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said. The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others,” William said in May after Dyson’s investigation came to a close.

“But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived. She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions,” he added.

According to Newsweek, Bashir stepped down from the BBC due to “ongoing health issues.”

The first part of the new documentary examines “the tensions for the two royals (Harry and William) between the benefits of publicity and the downsides of intrusion - and how they tried to handle the press,” according to the BBC.

Prince Harry, Prince William (2021), (Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

What do you think about BBC’s new documentary series? Do you agree with the royal family? Let us know — and be sure to pass this on to others.

Please scroll below for more stories