BBC challenges Buckingham Palace in new documentary about princes William and Henry

The documentary had all the ingredients to make the communication teams at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace nervous. That is to say, Elizabeth II, Charles of England and Prince William. The Princes and the Press (“The princes and the press”), whose first chapter aired this Monday night by the BBC, promised to address everything that in recent years has been a headache for the royal house of the United Kingdom. The toxic relationship between the tabloid press and the most popular members of the House of Windsor. A bomb that exploded with the addition to the family of Meghan Markle, the American actress whom Prince Henry decided to marry. And, above all, with internal wars, with leaks and stab wounds in the back, which have confronted the communication teams of princes and duchesses at this time.

If the cocktail was already threatening, the public broadcaster’s refusal to allow Buckingham to take a pre-air preview of the content further agitated the nerves. And the fact that the reporter and host of the documentary was Amol Rajan – an openly Republican journalist, who has defined the Monarchy as “absurd” and the British media as his “propaganda apparatus” – did not bode well for the team. of courtiers. Indeed, Buckingham, Clarence House and Kensington carried out an unusual preventive maneuver. They issued a joint statement before even seeing what the documentary really consisted of. The BBC reproduced it in full at the end of the first episode: “A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance for a healthy democracy. However, too often, inflated and unsubstantiated claims are presented as fact by anonymous sources. And it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility, “the statement said.

Some media have even affirmed that the royal house had already prepared a forceful legal response to immediately punish the challenge of the public channel. At the moment, the blood does not seem to have reached the river, because the documentary has given samples of rigor and seriousness in its analysis to which the United Kingdom is not used to when it comes to the royal family. “Guillermo and Enrique, with their growing popularity, became part of that implicit pact that exists between the Monarchy and the media. Let’s call it the agreement “, Rajan explained before the camera, and in a certainly pompous tone, but effective when it comes to television communication. “The agreement with the Windsors is to let them live in their palaces and get part of the taxpayers’ money, in exchange for allowing access to the press, and a constant supply of photos and stories, they are guaranteed favorable coverage that allow you to renew your emotional contract with the people ”, describes the journalist to frame the content of the documentary.

The list of interviewees is substantial. Not only most of the leading swords of the press in royal affairs, but also serious political journalists, with an established reputation, such as Andrew Marr. The two interventions with the most impact are those of Gavin Burrows and Jenny Afia, Markle’s lawyer, who intervenes with the express consent of her client. Burrows, a private detective, confesses how he tapped the phone of Prince Henry’s former girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, to track her medical history, looking for a possible abortion, and her love history. “Now I feel bad, because I was part of a group of people who basically stole his teenage years from Enrique,” admits Burrows, who worked for the newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch, The Sun and News of The World.

The documentary helps to understand how two brothers tormented by the way the press harassed their mother, Lady Di, decide to take opposite paths. Guillermo learned to cultivate “the agreement” to his advantage. Enrique, by incorporating Meghan Markle into his life, decided to push the war to its last consequences. “This story that no one wanted to work for the Duchess of Sussex, because she was a very problematic or very demanding boss, and that everyone ended up leaving Kesingnton Palace, is simply a lie,” says lawyer Afia in the documentary, still on duty to combat the stories spilled against his client in recent years. Only one of the journalists interviewed, Omid Scobie, dares to say directly that the attacks against Markle came from members of the royal family itself (specifically, from the environment of Guillermo and his wife, Kate Middleton). But Scobie is the journalist who gained the trust of the Sussexes and wrote the “unauthorized” book with his story, Finding Freedom (Meghan and Harry. On freedom. HarperCollins Ibérica).

The icing on the cake of the first episode is offered by Rachel Johnson, the sister of the current prime minister, by showing her regret for the opinion column she wrote shortly after meeting the romance of Enrique and Meghan. He then suggested that the actress’s “rich and exotic DNA” would enhance the Spencer’s “pale skin and red hair.” “Right now I wouldn’t write anything like that,” says Johnson. “But that was only four years ago,” the journalist tells him. “It’s something that happened in a completely different world,” she replies. That change brought with it a nightmare for the Windsor house that the BBC, with its documentary, has resurrected.

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BBC challenges Buckingham Palace in new documentary about princes William and Henry