It’s no secret that there’s quite a bit of bad blood within the British Royal Family these days.
In fact, relations between the feuding factions have become so contentious that both sides have essentially abandoned their efforts to convince the public that all is well.
But even with the cat mostly out of the bag, the royals still aren’t willing to let the famously unscrupulous British press push whatever narrative it wants with regard to the rift within the Windsor clan.
For many years, the royals would keep unruly media outlets in line simply by threatening to cut off access:
Anyone who spread unflattering info about the Queen and company would be persona non grata at future press events, and in many cases, that threat was enough to keep rogue reporters in line.
In recent years, however, the royals have been forced to take a much more firm stance with the media.
In addition to Harry and Meghan’s recent lawsuits against various photographers and publications, William and Kate have issued stern statements cautioning the press about overstepping their bounds.
And this week, in an unprecedented move, the Cambridges joined forces with Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth to blast a BBC docuseries that they claim offers an unfair and inaccurate portrayal of several members of the royal family.
According to a new report from the Daily Mail, the three royal households representing the Queen, Charles and William said:
“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.”
The two-part series, entitled The Princes and The Press, contained several bombshells, including revelations that the royals hired a private investigator to keep tabs on Harry’s former girlfriend Chelsy Davy.
But not surprisingly, it seems the segments that have the royals the most upset all have to do with Meghan Markle.
Insiders say the royals were upset over the filmmakers’ insights into a scandal that’s come to be called “tiaragate.”
Apparently, Meghan selected an emerald tiara for her wedding, but for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, the Queen vetoed that decision and encouraged her to choose another one.
In general, the wedding planning process seems to have exposed and exacerbated the cultural differences between Meghan and her in-laws.
As you may recall, there were claims that Kate made Meghan cry when she lambasted the bride to be after learning Meg had given Princess Charlotte permission to forgo wearing tights during the ceremony.
During her interview with Oprah, Meghan stated that the story had been reversed, and it was Kate who made her cry.
The documentary featured commentary from some of the Sussexes biggest detractors, one of whom argued that tiaragate is small potatoes compared to the allegations of Meghan bullying her staff.
Daily Mail reporter Dan Wootton claims the abuse started immediately after the wedding, and was only exposed when members of the staff began to speak out.
“It took six months for it to get out after the wedding so when people like to say the press are going for Harry and Meghan, you had it in for Harry and Meghan. I completely disagree,” Wootton said.
“It was actually these people behind the scenes who started to get annoyed, before any of it was public,” he continued.
“At that point no national newspaper had dared to really dive into this huge war that was developing behind the scenes.”
Wootton went on to claim that he broke the story himself after learning that more mainstream media outlets wouldn’t cover it due to the royals’ desire to keep the whole thing under wraps.
“And part of that was that no-one in the royal rota was really prepared to break that story either,” he said.
“So I did take someone like me, as an outsider and actually say ‘no I’m going to do it.'”
Also interviewed for the series is Omid Scobie, author of Finding Freedom, which is one of the more flattering books about Meghan and Harry that’s been published in recent years.
Scobie says that it’s Meghan who was the victim of bullying, and the royals worked with certain press outlets to release damaging information about the Duchess.
“There were some people who felt she [Meghan] needed to be put in her place,” Scobie said.
“I think by leaking a negative story, that’s punishment,'” the author continued, noting that much of the negative information about the Meghan that winds up in the press seems to have its origins in Buckingham Palace.
“There’s been rumours for quite some time that a lot of the most damaging and negative stories… have come from other royal households or from other royal aides,” Scobie said.
“From my own research and reporting that’s exactly true.”
It remains to be seen if The Princes and the Press will result in further lawsuits from the royal family.
But whatever the case, the film’s producers clearly have no qualms about angering both sides of the conflict.