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BBC criticised by royals for ‘overblown and unfounded claims’

The BBC has been criticised by the royal households for giving credibility to “overblown and unfounded claims” in a documentary which explored the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex’s relationship with the media.

Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace took the rare step of issuing a joint statement to the broadcaster which was included at the end of the BBC Two programme.

The first episode of The Princes And The Press, presented by Amol Rajan, included suggestions that negatives stories about the Duchess of Sussex were leaked by courtiers and there was a competitiveness between households.

You Me at Six in Concert – O2 Academy Brixton
William and Harry have suffered a rift (Paul Grover/Daily Telegraph/PA)

The second episode, which will be aired next week, is expected to delve into William and Harry’s rift, and royal aides are reported to be concerned it will include claims the brothers briefed against each other in the press through their advisers. 

The statement from the palaces said: “A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy.

“However, too often it is overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources that are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.”

It was unclear as to which particular allegations the royal households, who were not given an advance copy of the documentary, were referring to specifically.

Monday night’s programme also featured Meghan’s lawyer Jenny Afia, from the law firm Schillings, who responded to reports about the duchess’s alleged bullying of palace staff.

In March, The Times newspaper said the duchess allegedly drove out two personal assistants and “humiliated” staff on several occasions, which she denies.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex receive award
Harry brought legal action against the newspapers in 2019 (Yui Mok/PA)

An investigation has since been launched by Buckingham Palace and the royal household has tasked an external legal team to assist its human resources team looking at allegations made against the former Suits star.

Ms Afia said: “Those stories were false. This narrative that no one can work for the Duchess of Sussex, she was too difficult and demanding as a boss and everyone had to leave, it’s just not true.”

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