The Duke of Cambridge, who has been the president of BAFTA since 2010, may now attempt to take away the BBC’s rights to show the awards ceremony, according to a royal expert. Richard Eden said he had heard “the Corporation’s deal to televise the prime-time ceremony could be in jeopardy”. A royal courtier is said to have told him that “all of His Royal Highness’s collaborations with the BBC are now being questioned”.
They added: “He doesn’t see why he should help the BBC when it treats him and his family with contempt.”
The Royal Family was antagonised by the BBC’s two-part documentary, The Princes and the Press, which aired on BBC2 on two consecutive Mondays.
The documentary delved into Princes Harry and William’s relationships with the media in the UK, as well as the media coverage received by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Hosted by Amol Rajan, the BBC said the documentary was “about how royal journalism is done and features a range of journalists from broadcast and the newspaper industry”.
The first part angered numerous royal households which, in a rare move, issued a joint statement last week collectively from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace.
It read: “A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy.
“However, too often overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.”
Daily Mail columnist Eden was himself a critic of the documentary, posting on Twitter ahead of the second instalment: “Let’s see if The Princes and the Press is any more balanced this week.”
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“‘It should never have been made,’ a source tells me. ‘Rajan is an inexperienced broadcaster who has been given far too much power too quickly.’”
Defending the documentary after this statement, BBC chair, Richard Sharp, said “The BBC is a national institution and we approach our relationships with the other national institutions with great care and thought.
“The Royal Family is at the centre of our identity, its underlying importance is unequivocal.”
He added the BBC had tremendous respect for all aspects of the Royal Family”.
However, the Duke and Duchess opted to go with a BBC competitor last week, when it was announced that a special Christmas event at Westminster Abbey would be broadcast on ITV later in December.
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, will host the festive carol service on December 8.
A TV source told the Sun: “This is a real coup for ITV. It is a brand new format — the royals have never hosted a televised TV concert before.
“And to have the Duchess leading on it is a big deal.
“Naturally most royal programming goes automatically to the BBC as the national broadcaster.
“Now it looks like they will work more with ITV in the future.”
The source added: “It was all arranged to be on BBC1 but it was switched in the last few days because of the terrible row over the documentary.