The BBC & the royal family had ‘peace talks’ ahead of the Jubbly extravaganza
Last November, we were gifted with another public rage-meltdown from Prince William. This one was about the BBC special The Princes and the Press. Amol Rajan did a documentary where he examined how and why the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left the UK, and how the media was hellbent on destroying them, and whether Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House all briefed against Harry and Meghan. Rajan barely scratched the surface of what really happened, but his pointed questions and the admissions from royal Rota journalists was enough to send William spiraling. It wasn’t enough that William was largely responsible for the smearing of Harry & Meghan, it was also about how he was too stupid to NOT leave his fingerprints all over the smear campaign.
Anyway, William threw a tantrum about the documentary and, even more specifically, about the BBC and why they dared to even produce it and air it. William was trying to bully the BBC and he threatened to remove all royal associations and royal programming from the Beeb. Hilariously, Kate’s Christmas piano recital was “given” to ITV as punishment and the ratings were terrible for it, making it look like the BBC wisely passed on a half-assed Keen dud. I bring all of this up because the BBC is the official programming partner for all things Platinum Jubbly. William lost this particular battle, and the royals are once again closely aligned with the BBC. I News did a fascinating report about what has gone down behind-the-scenes with the Windsors and the BBC, and it basically sounds like they’re joined together in mutual loathing and need.
High-level talks: The BBC has held high-level talks with the Royal Family to heal a fractured relationship ahead of the Platinum Jubilee. But the broadcaster has been encouraged to ask “tough questions” about the future of the monarchy as it prepares to screen extensive coverage of the celebrations.
There was talk of a boycott: There was talk of the Palace boycotting the BBC over the Jubilee celebrations following the Amol Rajan series The Princes and the Press which is said to have annoyed the Queen by repeating claims about briefing wars between royal households. However after awarding coverage of a carol concert hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to ITV, seen as a snub to its rival, relations are back on an even keel after the BBC shared plans with the Palace to make the Jubilee a central highlight of its own centenary year.
The Queen is fine with the Beeb: The BBC promises that its Platinum Party at the Palace on June 4, featuring stars including Queen, Sir Rod Stewart and Diana Ross, will be a spectacular “once-in-a-lifetime experience”, with Her Majesty granting special permission to site a stage in front of Buckingham Palace’s gates. Home recordings filmed by the Queen, her parents and the Duke of Edinburgh are among a treasure trove of private family footage released by the Royal Household for a BBC documentary Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen, which airs on May 29.
Do not give uncritical coverage?? Yet the BBC has been warned not to give uncritical coverage of an event, certain to feature extensively on its news output across an extended bank holiday weekend running from June 2 to 5. Executives have learnt from the viewer response to its coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, which some found excessive. “The BBC is under huge pressure to get this right. There has to be a certain amount of forelock-tugging. But this isn’t the 1977 Silver Jubilee. There will have to be tough questions asked about the future of the monarchy too,” Mark Borkowski, the leading PR consultant told i. “There will be a lot of empathy for the Queen. The baby boom generation feel very protective of her and feel this is her last hurrah. By its nature the Platinum Jubilee celebrates what has gone but also has to examine what will be the shape of the Commonwealth after the Queen. The BBC has to reflect that too.”
The question of how much to cover Harry & Meghan: This time, the BBC must make an editorial judgement over how much coverage should be given to the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, set to divert attention when they arrive in the UK with their children Archie, three, and Lilibet, who turns one over the Platinum Jubilee weekend. Palace aides are desperate to prevent the Harry and Meghan show “destabilising” the weekend, especially if they decide to go on “ad hoc” walkabouts, generating huge crowds, outside of the official events.
Toxic Tom is flying in: An irritant for the Sussexes will be the arrival of Meghan’s estranged father Thomas, who is flying to Britain to be a Jubilee guest on the late-night GB News show presented by Dan Wootton. ITV delivered its star-studded contribution early, with a Platinum Jubilee Celebration last week, attended by The Queen, staged as part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The event, which paired Tom Cruise and Alan Titchmarsh as presenters, was a “carriage crash which showed why the BBC is the natural broadcaster for these productions,” said Mr Borkowski.
[From i News]
This is honestly a fascinating look at an arrangement which should have much clearer boundaries. The BBC *should* operate independently, without needing to play these stupid games with a bunch of horsey losers. It’s being positioned as “the BBC better get this right” when really, the Windsors are the ones who need to get this right. They’re the ones forcing everyone to “celebrate” the fakakta Jubbly. And I can feel all of the angst from Buckingham Palace about Harry and Meghan too – the Sussexes have not informed the Palace of their plans once they’re on the ground in the UK. The Sussexes know that the Palace will leak against them no matter what, so they’re playing their cards very close to the chest. And the fact that Thomas Markle is still being flown in by Dan Wootton… lmao. How evil, though.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Instar and Avalon Red.
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