The Duke of Cambridge looked in good spirits this evening as he stepped out in London for the Tusk Conservation Awards – just hours before the BBC’s new documentary about the warring Princes William and Harry will air.
Prince William, 39, looked dashing in a royal blue suit with a white shirt and textured tie as he arrived at the BFI Southbank in the British capital to celebrate Africa’s leading wildlife protectors.
It comes amid the BBC’s decision to release a two-part documentary hosted by anti-monarchist Amol Rajan about Prince William and Prince Harry‘s ‘tumultuous’ relationship after Megxit as the royals and their lawyers threatened to go to war with the corporation over ‘disputed’ claims in the show.
The Duke of Cambridge, the Queen and Prince Charles are reportedly threatening to boycott the broadcaster over the two-part series believed to contain ‘incendiary’ claims about the brothers smearing each other in the press and a row over whether the BBC failed to give the royals a proper right of reply.
The monarch and her heirs are together expected to collectively complain to regulator Ofcom for the first time in history, with lawyers braced to launch action after it begins at 9pm tonight.
Buckingham Palace is also said to be concerned that avowed republican Amol Rajan, who once called the monarchy ‘absurd’, was chosen to present the BBC2 show, called The Princes and the Press.
The Duke of Cambridge (pictured left) looked in good spirits this evening as he stepped out in London for the Tusk Conservation Awards – just hours before the BBC’s new documentary about the warring Princes William and Harry will air. Pictured right, Tusk Director of Programmes, Sarah Watson, The Duke of Cambridge and Tusk chief executive Charles Mayhew
Prince William (pictured), 39, looked dashing in a royal blue suit with a white shirt and textured tie as he arrived at the BFI Southbank in the British capital to celebrate Africa’s leading wildlife protectors
The highly anticipated Tusk Awards, hosted by Kate Silverton, was able to return as a face-to-face event after being held virtually last year due to the pandemic.
Since Prince William launched the annual ceremony in 2013, the achievements of Africa’s unsung heroes who lead conservation efforts have been given recognition.
The Duke presented each of the winners their awards, before making a short speech. He will also attend a reception with key members and supporters of Tusk Trust, as well as the winners of this years’ awards to hear more about their vital work on the frontline of conservation efforts in Africa.
As Royal Patron of Tusk Trust, Prince William has long been a supporter of the charity’s efforts and has taken part in their annual awards several times. For last year’s virtual ceremony, he recorded a video message congratulating the winners.
Meanwhile, the BBC2 show The Princes and the Press, is being edited right up until broadcast and may repeat ‘disputed’ allegations that the siblings briefed smears against each other to the press via their aides.
It comes amid the BBC’s decision to release a two-part documentary hosted by anti-monarchist Amol Rajan about Prince William (pictured) and Prince Harry’s ‘tumultuous’ relationship after Megxit as the royals and their lawyers threatened to go to war with the corporation over ‘disputed’ claims in the show
The Duke of Cambridge (pictured centre with Sarah Watson and Tusk chief executive Charles Mayhew), the Queen and Prince Charles are reportedly threatening to boycott the broadcaster over the two-part series believed to contain ‘incendiary’ claims about the brothers smearing each other in the press and a row over whether the BBC failed to give the royals a proper right of reply
The monarch and her heirs are together expected to collectively complain to regulator Ofcom for the first time in history, with lawyers braced to launch action after it begins at 9pm tonight. Pictured, Prince William at the Tusk Awards
Earlier this year William attacked the BBC after its failings were exposed surrounding the Martin Bashir Panorama interview with his mother Diana, which the Duke of Cambridge branded ‘deceitful’.
Claims by Omid Scobie that William and his staff leaked a story about Harry’s mental health were cut from ITV film Harry and William: What Went Wrong? hours before it was broadcast in July after the claim was rebutted by Kensington Palace.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: ‘The decision of the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William to make their reported concerns about the two part BBC programme tonight so public, makes it clear that they believe the programmes may contain incendiary material.
‘The reported protests from the Palace obviously run the risk of increasing the viewing figures, but clearly the content may be such that the Palace feels that the public should be warned that, if they watch, they are seeing a point of view which may be strongly disputed’.
Sources told The Times that Mr Rajan, 38, is ‘experienced enough to put his views to one side’.
Star-studded: Also attending the Tusk Conservation Awards was Emma Weymouth (pictured), who completed her look with a bold red lipstick and black eyeliner to draw attention to her face
Emma led the glamour at the prestigious event, which was hosted by Kate Silverton after being held virtually last year due to the Covid pandemic
Part one this evening is about ‘the princes’ relationship with the media’ and ‘charts the years leading up to and including the engagement and marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, according to the BBC website.
Part two ‘examines the period from 2018 to 2021, a tumultuous time for the royals that includes the birth of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor and the royal tours of the Sussexes and the Cambridges’.
Richard Fitzwilliams said: ‘BBC guidelines require all news and current affairs documentaries to offer ‘an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond’ according to the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. Surely, after the debacle of Panorama, a shameful debacle almost beyond belief, it is appropriate here?
‘Although the contents of the programmes have not been revealed, it is an incontrovertible fact that the royal family have not been given a chance to view them or to respond to any claims made in them. So the BBC faces further controversy which was surely in its interests to avoid and which surely contravenes its own guidelines?’
Aides to Prince William insist he did not brief against his brother Prince Harry (pictured together in July 2021) during the Megxit saga
The Queen and Prince Charles walking to the Balmoral Estate Cricket Pavilion earlier last month. They and the Duke of Cambridge are reportedly threatening to boycott the broadcaster and complain to Ofcom
Royal insiders denied William and Harry had been embroiled in a briefing war, ahead of a programme examining the brothers’ troubled relationship with the media.
Courtiers have not been shown the two-part documentary, and sources told the Mail on Sunday that they believed it would include claims that William and Harry – or their advisers – briefed against each other.
A senior royal source called the documentary ‘tittle-tattle’ and told the paper that the row over the programme had left the Queen ‘upset’.
Insiders at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House were said to have been particularly angered that they were not given the chance to view the show or respond to any such claims.
Sources quickly shut down any suggestion that royal aides working for William and Harry were at the centre of a briefing war during the Megxit saga.
In fact the very opposite was true, sources said, and senior royal aides repeatedly refused to be dragged into a public war of words, despite the Duke and Duchess of Sussex giving an explosive interview to television host Oprah Winfrey.
One source told the Daily Mail: ‘It was always very clear from the top that no one wanted to be dragged down that particular rabbit hole, however egregiously people were being provoked by the Sussexes.
The palace mantra was that a period of silence would be beneficial to take the toxicity out of the situation, with the Queen going so far as to issue a personal statement making clear that there were matters they needed to deal with privately as a family.’
Royal insiders made clear last night that there was no desire to censor either the broadcaster or the programme makers. But the three royal households all agreed they should have been given a right of reply.
BBC guidelines require all news and current affairs documentaries to offer the right of reply where appropriate.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘The programme is about how royal journalism is done and features a range of journalists from broadcast and the newspaper industry.’
Journalists interviewed for the programme are thought to include BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond, the Daily Telegraph’s associate editor Camilla Tominey and US journalist Omid Scobie, who co-authored a biography of Harry and Meghan, Finding Freedom.