As probably many of you may have heard already, the first episode of the BBC Royal Documentary “The Princes and The Press” aired two days ago. Only the first episode of the two-part documentary has aired, I’ll make sure to update this post when I’ve watched the second episode for sure.
In my opinion, the documentary was far more explosive than I expected. I watched it as soon as it aired myself; however, I was so shocked by the information I got thrown in my face that I just couldn’t gather myself to make a blog post until now.
Let’s start with some background info
Firstly: What is the BBC royal documentary about?
To summarize it shortly, the documentary discusses “how the younger royals have had very different relationships with the media”.
The BBC revealed that the first episode “charts the years leading up to and including the engagement and marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex”. And said it included “suggestions that negative stories about the Duchess of Sussex were leaked by courtiers and that there were rivalries between different royal households”. In addition, the documentary features interviews with Meghan and Harry’s biographer and their lawyer.
Focusing particularly on Harry and William, the episode also explored disputes between newspapers and the Royal Family in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
What was the royal family’s reaction when they first heard about the BBC royal documentary?
When the news about the documentary came out, reports claimed that the royal family was “furious” with the Queen being “upset” by the news that the documentary would air without allowing the royals to watch it before its premiere. The royal family – including the Queen – also threatened to “boycot” the BBC as a result.
A palace source said: “They are upset about it. The households are all united in thinking this is not fair. No one at the Palace has seen it.”
I think that the decision of the Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince William to make their reported concerns so public makes it clear that they knew from the beginning that the documentary may contain incendiary material. If they have nothing to hide – why so concerned? Why this need to warn the public, that if they watch, they will be seeing a point of view that may be strongly disputed?
This leads to my next question.
Why this overreaction?
Well, I believe there are two sides to this story: the royal one, and the real one!
The royal one:
According to the royal family, they criticized the documentary from the start because BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan can’t be impartial on the subject given his previous criticize of the existence of the monarchy.
The royal family referred to a column Rajan wrote for the Independent back in 2012 in which he described Britain having an unelected head of state as “absurd”. In the article, Rajan admitted to “disliking” Prince Philip and “the scientifically illiterate Prince Charles.
Rajan himself said: “I want to bring light where there is heat. We won’t shy away from any controversies, whether racism, sexism (in the media’s reporting of Meghan), briefing, or counter-briefing. I’m not going to take sides in the culture wars into which the young Royals have been conscripted.”
The real one:
This documentary is not good for the royal family at all, and I believe the worst part is that most of the interviews in the episode were given BEFORE the Oprah sit-down in March 2021. For instance, Omid’s segment was filmed in November 2020. In the interview, he revealed how negative stories had been leaked about Meghan from day one.
“There were some people who felt she needed to be put in her place.”
‘I think by leaking a negative story, that’s punishment. There have been rumors for quite some time that a lot of the most damaging and negative stories have come from other royal households or from other royal aides. From my own research and reporting that’s exactly true.’
The BBC royal documentary literally proved everything Meghan and Harry said in the Oprah interview right. The documentary exposed the deceptive, manipulative bunch of people that work for the royal family. We have all suspected this for years, but to get firsthand was, of course, something the royal family will do everything in their power to stop!
Summary of the BBC Royal Documentary:
I found this BBC royal documentary more searching, thoughtful, and better sourced than the countless other royal documentaries I’ve watched throughout the years. The documentary featured the biggest Meghan haters including Dan Wooton, Richard Palmer, and Camilla Tomney, reveling what we all knew from the beginning. Meghan never stood a chance with this family!
Another point Rajan wanted to make was that there is a secret “deal” or “pact” between the royal family and the press – “the royals get to live in palaces,” as he put it, and if they give access, they get favorable coverage. “One prince choosing to play the game, the other is trying to change the rules of the game”.
You’ll recall that Harry talked about this “invisible pact” between his family and reporters during the Oprah interview back in March. Meghan explained: “There’s a reason that these tabloids have holiday parties at the Palace. They’re hosted by the Palace, the tabloids are. You know, there is a construct that’s at play there.”
Watch the clip below:
The BBC Royal Documentary also describes how Harry was deemed too popular to attack before marrying Meghan, making the press turn on the Duchess of Cambridge for the unspeakable crime of using her hair to hide her face from the cameras instead. Meanwhile, the Duke of Cambridge became “work-shy William” for being lazy.
All that changed in a second as soon as Meghan entered the family! “Something weird started around about now,” says Rajan about the time Meghan wed Harry. Rajan was referring to the ‘briefings’ about feuds between Harry and Willian, and Meghan’s supposed treatment of staff. Meghan’s lawyer, Jenny Afia, was on hand to deny this particular story in the episode.
Another topic that was brought up, was Meghan’s choice of her wedding tiara. Different versions of the story have been told since the wedding, but some basic facts have remained consistent. Shortly: Meghan originally wanted to wear a different tiara than the one we all saw at the wedding, but the Queen vetoed her first pick according to Dan Wooton. Dan Wooden could also reveal how Harry reportedly shouted, “whatever Meghan wants, Meghan gets.” Which apparently prompted the Queen to tell somebody off.
And this is when the story gets sneaky, because according to the royal reporter for the Evening Standard, Robert Jobson, the person that the Queen asked to calm down was Harry himself. And according to Dan Wootton, the Queen reprimanded not Harry but Meghan on her behavior.
During the documentary, Rajan rightly said that, obviously, both accounts couldn’t be true. In my opinion, he just didn’t consider the third possibility: that both versions of the story were equally false and that the whole story was a part of the “deal” with the households selling Meghan out to get some positive coverage themselves.
We got the true version of this story earlier this month when the hypocrite Jason Knauf decided to reveal the private emails between him and Meghan during a hearing in Meghan’s lawsuit against Associated Newspapers Ltd.
Mr. Knauf showed the court the emails Meghan sent him on December 10, 2018. In the email, she wrote about herself in the third person and described the real tiara choosing story.
“The Queen, Harry and Meghan were all present – she tried on five tiaras and the Queen asked her which she preferred. Meghan asked the Queen her preference. The Queen said they all suited her, and Meghan chose the diamond one, which the Queen agreed was perfect. Shame to see such a beautiful, sweet moment skewed in media. There was no conversation about any other tiara as a preference. Meghan loved the one she wore, and it remains a very special memory.”
Rightly enough though, Rajan described how the tiara story was the moment “when the deal broke down”. By placing false stories about Meghan, the media would give positive coverage to the one feeding them.
And then there was the racism. The prime minister’s sister Rachel Johnson appeared in the documentary talking about her four-year-old column, in which she called Meghan DNA “exotic.”
Writing in her column for the Mail on Sunday in 2016, titled “Sorry Harry, but your beautiful bolter has failed my Mum Test,” she described Meghan as genetically “blessed.” She wrote that Meghan’s “rich and exotic DNA” would thicken the royal family’s “watery, thin blue blood.”
“Miss Markle’s mother is a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks who lives in LA, and even the sourest spinster has to admit that the 35-year-old actress is extremely easy on the eye,”
In the documentary, she claimed she wouldn’t use the same language today. Why? Because “it sounds either eugenicist or racist”, she replied. Rajan rightly pointed out, it wouldn’t have sounded any less racist so four years ago.
The Royal Families reaction after the first episode aired:
In an extraordinary joint statement, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and Clarence House last night said it was ‘disappointing’ that the broadcaster had chosen to air allegations surrounding Harry and Meghan’s departure.
The statement 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.”
I can’t wait for part 2 of the BBC royal documentary to air on November 29. This episode will focus on the controversies that took place 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.” The BBC says presenter Amol Rajan “also looks at the circumstances surrounding the Sussexes’ decision to step down from their senior royal roles, explores the legal cases brought by the couple against some newspaper groups from 2019 onwards, and considers the impact Princess Diana’s experiences with the press and broadcasters had on her sons.” – stay tuned
If you did watch the documentary yourself, what surprised you the most? I really wanna hear your thoughts about it.