- Prince William sparks controversy over BBC documentary ‘The Prince and the Press’
- Prince outraged by media claims about Harry and Meghan
- Insiders suggest Christmas concert, presented to ITV, is ‘the tip of the iceberg’
Prince William has raised stakes in his row with the BBC, putting future TV projects with the broadcaster at risk.
He and his wife Kate have already banned the corporation from showing the charity carol concerts they host at Westminster Abbey.
William, 39, was angered by the broadcast of a BBC Two documentary ‘baseless’ which claimed he and his staff had briefed the media against Harry and Meghan.
Now insiders suggest that the Christmas concert, which has been pitched to ITV, could be the tip of the iceberg.
Prince William angered by ‘baseless’ claims in BBC Two documentary that he and his staff briefed the media against Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
ITV insiders confirmed that they were only offered the show last weekend and are still negotiating a fee with BBC Studios, the production arm of the corporation that produced the programme.
A source said it was clear that William, who worked with the BBC on its Earthshot award but is protective of his staff and his reputation, would have to ‘seriously consider’ any further projects.
And that could extend to other senior royals. They are outraged not only by the claims made in the documentary The Princess and the Press, but also by the broadcaster’s approach to the project.
The BBC refused to allow William as well as Buckingham Palace and Clarence House – the families of the Queen and the Prince of Wales – to pre-watch the two-part programme.
Queen Elizabeth II sits in the Royal Box with her son Prince Charles and grandson Prince William
The corporation had offered a ‘right of reply’, but it is understood that the claims mentioned in its memorandum were extremely ‘vague’.
A source with knowledge of the situation said: “It is fair to say that the response to what has happened is being driven by the Duke, there is complete unity among the three royal families.”
‘You really couldn’t have a cigarette paper between them. There is a serious issue of honesty at stake here.
It is understood that William is still deeply hurt by the Martin Bashir scandal, which has yet to be discussed in the two-part documentary put forward by BBC journalist Amol Rajan.
Mr Bashir was exposed last year in what appeared to be forged documents to persuade Princess Diana to give Panorama her sensational 1995 interview.
Earlier this year William attacked both the journalist and the BBC’s management structure for betraying his mother. He said his actions fueled his ‘fear, paranoia and isolation’ and hastened his parents’ divorce.
“The whole Bashir scandal is still very raw for him – and now it,” said a friend.
The first episode of The Princess and the Press featured detailed media coverage of the young royals from 2012 to 2018 and how it was affected by what happened to their late mother.
This suggested there was a ‘competition’ between the different royal families and that according to Omid Scobie, co-author of Finding Freedom, a biography of Harry and Meghan, deliberately negative stories were leaked against Meghan to ‘put her in her place’.
It is understood the BBC has no plans to show the royals a second episode of the series before it airs on Monday.
Attorney Jenny Afia speaking on The Princess and the Press documentary
However, insiders have said that this will further focus on the rift between William and Harry and that there will be even more explosive revelations. It is understood the royals will wait until Monday’s broadcast before deciding what further action, if any, they will take.
This may include a formal complaint to the watchdog Ofcom. BBC chairman Richard Sharp said yesterday that he hopes the royal family will ‘respect’ the documentary, adding that he stands with the show’s producers and ‘hopes’ they will do it right.
He added: ‘The BBC is a national institution and we approach our relationships with other national institutions with great care and consideration.
‘The royal family is at the heart of our identity. Its inherent importance is clear and we have great respect for all aspects of the royal family that they do and do.
‘From time to time, this organization creates programs that may or may not meet with full agreement with different parts of the establishment and this is true of the government, which may be true of the judiciary, our The same may be true of other important parts of society.
‘Our job is to have that right, to be free, to be respectful and fair.’