The Queen’s former press secretary today let rip at the BBC’s decision to release a two-part documentary hosted by anti-monarchist Amol Rajan about William and Harry’s ‘tumultuous’ relationship after Megxit as the royals and their lawyers threatened to go to war with the corporation over ‘disputed’ claims in the show.
The Duke of Cambridge, the Queen and Prince Charles are reportedly threatening to boycott the broadcaster over the two-part series.
The monarch and her heirs are together expected to collectively complain to regulator Ofcom for the first time in history, with lawyers braced to launch action following the programme’s airing.
Buckingham Palace is also said to be concerned that avowed republican Amol Rajan, who once called the monarchy ‘absurd’, was chosen to present the show.
The Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter said the choice of Mr Rajan ‘calls into question the whole business about the BBC and bias. Will it be an honest appraisal? There’s a big question mark over that’.
Earlier this year William attacked the BBC after its failings were exposed surrounding the Martin Bashir Panorama interview with his mother Diana, which the Duke of Cambridge branded ‘deceitful’.
Claims by Omid Scobie that William and his staff leaked a story about Harry’s mental health were cut from ITV film Harry and William: What Went Wrong? hours before it was broadcast in July after the claim was rebutted by Kensington Palace.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: ‘The decision of the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William to make their reported concerns about the two part BBC programme tonight so public, makes it clear that they believe the programmes may contain incendiary material.
‘The reported protests from the Palace obviously run the risk of increasing the viewing figures, but clearly the content may be such that the Palace feels that the public should be warned that, if they watch, they are seeing a point of view which may be strongly disputed’.
Aides to Prince William insist he did not brief against his brother Harry during the Megxit saga, as a row over a new BBC documentary set to broadcast tonight
Sources told The Times that Mr Rajan, 38, is ‘experienced enough to put his views to one side’.
Part one tonight was about ‘the princes’ relationship with the media’ and ‘charts the years leading up to and including the engagement and marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, according to the BBC website.
Part two ‘examines the period from 2018 to 2021, a tumultuous time for the royals that includes the birth of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor and the royal tours of the Sussexes and the Cambridges’.
Richard Fitzwilliams said: ‘BBC guidelines require all news and current affairs documentaries to offer ‘an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond’ according to the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. Surely, after the debacle of Panorama, a shameful debacle almost beyond belief, it is appropriate here?
The Queen and Prince Charles walking to the Balmoral Estate Cricket Pavilion earlier last month. They and the Duke of Cambridge are reportedly threatening to boycott the broadcaster and complain to Ofcom
‘Although the contents of the programmes have not been revealed, it is an incontrovertible fact that the royal family have not been given a chance to view them or to respond to any claims made in them. So the BBC faces further controversy which was surely in its interests to avoid and which surely contravenes its own guidelines?’
Aides to Prince William did not brief against his brother Harry during the Megxit saga, sources insisted yesterday following a row over a new BBC documentary.
Royal insiders denied William and Harry had been embroiled in a briefing war, ahead of a programme examining the brothers’ troubled relationship with the media.
The Queen, Prince Charles and William have reportedly joined forces to complain to the BBC and threaten a boycott on future projects with the broadcaster unless the Palace is given a right to respond to potentially damaging allegations.
The BBC2 programme, The Princes And The Press, which airs tonight at 9pm, examines coverage of the brothers in British newspapers, including Harry’s relationship with wife Meghan and the couple’s decision to stand down from royal duties and move to the US.
Courtiers have not been shown the two-part documentary, and sources told the Mail on Sunday that they believed it would include claims that William and Harry – or their advisers – briefed against each other.
A senior royal source called the documentary ‘tittle-tattle’ and told the paper that the row over the programme had left the Queen ‘upset’.
Insiders at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House were said to have been particularly angered that they were not given the chance to view the show or respond to any such claims.
Sources quickly shut down any suggestion that royal aides working for William and Harry were at the centre of a briefing war during the Megxit saga.
In fact the very opposite was true, sources said, and senior royal aides repeatedly refused to be dragged into a public war of words, despite the Duke and Duchess of Sussex giving an explosive interview to television host Oprah Winfrey.
One source told the Daily Mail: ‘It was always very clear from the top that no one wanted to be dragged down that particular rabbit hole, however egregiously people were being provoked by the Sussexes.
A veil of secrecy has been drawn around the content of the programme, which has been written and is presented by Amol Rajan (pictured), who called the monarchy ‘absurd
The palace mantra was that a period of silence would be beneficial to take the toxicity out of the situation, with the Queen going so far as to issue a personal statement making clear that there were matters they needed to deal with privately as a family.’
Royal insiders made clear last night that there was no desire to censor either the broadcaster or the programme makers. But the three royal households all agreed they should have been given a right of reply.
BBC guidelines require all news and current affairs documentaries to offer the right of reply where appropriate.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘The programme is about how royal journalism is done and features a range of journalists from broadcast and the newspaper industry.’