Royal Family blasts ‘unfounded claims’ in BBC documentary about William and Harry’s rift

23 November 2021, 08:09 | Updated: 23 November 2021, 08:12

By Emma Soteriou

The royal family has issued an extraordinary statement criticising a controversial BBC documentary over "overblown" and "unfounded" claims about William and Harry.

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The rare move came after the first episode of the two-part show, The Princes And The Press, aired, exploring the relationship of Prince William and Prince Harry with the media.

It included suggestions of royal sources briefing journalists behind the scenes as well as an apology from a private investigator who targeted the phone of a former girlfriend of Prince Harry, admitting he helped "rob" him of his teenage years.

In a statement shown at the end of the programme, Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace 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."

The show also looked at Meghan Markle's alleged treatment of palace staff in 2018, with her lawyer saying: "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."

Read more: Private investigator apologises for targeting Harry's ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy

Read more: Fresh Meghan texts show her view Harry faced 'constant berating' from royals

An investigation was launched by Buckingham Palace, with the royal household turning to a legal team to look at the allegations made against the Suits star.

It came after several reports that she had "humiliated" staff on several occasions.

Following the airing of the programme, The Sun claimed that Prince William banned aides from briefing against family members.

He was said to have been "clear" he did not want aides to say anything about the other households after he saw reports during the split of his parents.