The three senior royal households- Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace- have issued a statement criticising the broadcaster for "giving credibility" to "overblown and unfounded claims" This is significant for the BBC, who are well aware royal documentaries generate guaranteed coverage and attention, as is playing out.

"A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy," said the joint statement.

they said it was "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."

This included claims by private investigator Gavin Burrows, who said he now regretted his involvement in chasing newspaper stories about Prince Harry and his ex-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy.

Mr Burrows said : "There was a lot of voicemail hacking going on, there was a lot of surveillance work on Chelsy Davy on her phones, on her comms."

mr rajan pointed out that mr burrows "yes.

Many of the interviews were conducted before the Mail revealed the full extent of how Bashir had used faked documents to trick Princess Diana into giving her 1995 Panorama interview.

Journalist Omid Scobie (pictured), co-author of the controversial biography of the Sussexes, Finding Freedom, meanwhile said negative stories had been leaked about Meghan, although he did not name those involved. 'There were some people who felt she [Megh

The Royal Family has worked closely with the newscaster ever since the Queen's Coronation broadcast in 1953.

But which is a more valuable institution to the British public – the Monarchy or the BBC?

Yet this is not what the BBC has been for some time.

"That will benefit not just the public and taxpayers, but the broadcasters themselves."

In the strongly-worded joint statement given to the BBC ahead of last night's programme, representatives for the Queen (pictured), Prince Charles and Prince William said: 'A free, responsible and open Press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy

The latest dose has been Amol Rajan's new BBC documentary The Princes And The Press, exploring the different ways Prince William and Harry engage with the media.

The first episode of the two-part documentary examined the relationship between the media and the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

The documentary, using first-hand testimony from correspondents, looked at suggestions of briefings and counter-briefings, and whether negative stories about the royals were based on information from people connected to other royal households.

The film also showed the extent of the threat to privacy from a press hungry for stories about the younger royals.

The appearance on camera of Meghan's personal lawyer and preferred mouthpiece, Jenny Afia, was approved by the Duchess of Sussex

His claims are yet to be tested in court and are strongly disputed.

It seems Harry and Meghan are not the only ones seeking to modernise the family.

There was a blink-and-you-miss-it moment at the end of the BBC's much hyped documentary about the royals which any impartial viewer might consider a trifle more important than its position, shoehorned into the programme just before the credits rolled.

In response, the palace, in a rare display of unity, has threatened a boycott of future dealings with the national broadcaster that could have widespread implications.

Insiders said the rift between William and Harry (pictured here with Meghan and Kate in 2020) will be examined in even greater detail in next week's instalment. Royal advisers believe the Queen, Charles and William have not been offered a proper right to

I think by leaking a negative story, that's punishment '.

Alas he did not say what those stories were or, crucially, from whom they came.

More pertinently, Mr Scobie was not asked about his own relationship with the duchess.

This month, Meghan apologised to the Appeal Court for making a misleading statement in her privacy case against the Mail On Sunday.

Prince Harry and Prince William have been in the media spotlight for decades (Image: Getty)

She said she had forgotten she had done so and had not intended to mislead.

But surely the biggest fault-line running through the programme was the BBC's own complicity in controversial royal coverage and the absence of any mention of the Martin Bashir saga.

In the short term, the BBC may be delighted with all the publicity but there is growing nervousness inside the corporation at the implications of an even more damaging fallout when part two of the documentary airs next week.

With a healthy majority ( 62 percent ) of the public supporting the monarchy ( 84 percent among 65s and over ), their influence among the British people is clear.

The episode featured Dan Wootton who spoke about his story, which became known as 'Tiaragate'. It also featured Jenny Afia a lawyer from Schillings who works with the Duchess of Sussex

They are figures of public interest, partially because their power is so ambiguous.

The Royal Family have been less than impressed, with the Queen said to be unhappy and reportedly joining with Prince Charles and William in threatening to boycott future projects with the corporation.

The Palace have complained about no right of reply, which would allow them to respond to allegations, and not being shown a preview of the documentary.

Given the Prince of Wales ’ outspoken campaigning on climate change, nobody would be surprised if he lobbied future governments on environment measures as king.

The Palace are unhappy with the BBC's most recent royal documentary 'The Princes and the Press' (Image: Getty)

Part one of the documentary is available to stream on iPlayer

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