The royal family’s relationship with the press has always been rather thorny. But in the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to take a step back from their senior roles, it’s become abundantly clear the toll tabloid coverage can take. Following BBC documentary The Princes and the Press about Princes Harry and William’s relationship with the media, Prince William and Kate Middleton joined the rest of the royal family in issuing a formal response to the claims made by journalists and royal commentators in the film, and it’s clear that they want viewers to take any suggestions they may hear with a grain of salt.
At the conclusion of part one of the documentary, a statement from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Kensington Palace read, “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,” per Town & Country. While it’s not clear what specific allegations levied in the documentary the statement referred to, there has been some speculation that members of the royal households might be among those “unnamed sources.”
Among the subjects covered in the documentary, the Sussex’s very public rift with the Cambridges and the royal family at large was prominently featured. Reflecting on the vitriolic stories that gained traction in the U.K. about Meghan Markle, Finding Freedom author Omid Scobie shared, “There were some people who just feel that she needed to be put in her place. And so I think by leaking a negative story, that’s the punishment.”
He continued, “There’s been rumors for quite some time that a lot of the most damaging and negative stories about Harry and Meghan that have ended up in the pages of the press have come from other royal households or from other royal aides or courtiers. And from my own reporting and research that is exactly true.”
While the royal family statement doesn’t call out any specific claims it considers “unfounded,” it would make sense that Kate and William would want to particularly place doubt on the idea that their staff of aides was in any way involved in leaking damaging stories about Harry and Meghan, as Scobie implies. Given the royal family’s notorious “never complain, never explain” motto, the family speaking out on the documentary at all shows they have a strong interest in setting the record straight — and it’ll be interesting to see what other claims surface in the second half of The Princes and the Press that they may want to address next.
Before you go, click here to see the best photos of Princess Diana playing with William and Harry.
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