The royal family has never been a family that wasn’t filled with drama. Whether it is self-inflicted or one caused by the media. But last night the BBC was accused of deliberately trying to hurt Prince Harry by dredging up an unfounded rumor that he isn’t Prince Charles’s real son. The long proven incorrect suggestion is that Princess Diana’s lover James Hewitt was his father. The BBC2 aired this rumor on their movie drama, King Charles III.
The royal family stated the rumors should have never been included in the program. These accusations are like pouring salt on an open wound considering how close it is to the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. One of Princess Diana’s closest confidantes while she was alive, Rosa Monckton, told reporters the following about the BBC program,
“The BBC is deliberately causing pain to a real living person in a salacious fashion. Prince Harry was 12 when his mother died and she is no longer around to reassure him. I don’t think this is why millions pay their licence fee..”
Former guard Ken Wharfe noted that these allegations greatly angered the Princess prior to her death. The former calvary officer flat out denied there was any legitimacy to the rumors. Penny Junor said it was flat out irresponsible and wrong for the BBC to make these claims. She famously co-authored an acclaimed biography of Prince Harry.
In the BBC series a romantic interest of Charles, who is fictionally characterized as being King, asks her if Charles or Hewitt is his father. To which all the King’s friends emphatically deny Hewitt is his father. In addition to this gossip being added to the show, there was a ninety-minute segment where Diana’s ghost was seen.
The actor who played Charles said that he felt it could be agonizing for the Princes if they were to see it. He even admitted that her reappearance to her husband was incredibly difficult to play. British actor Tim Pigott-Smith played Charles.
In reference to the pain it is said the show could cause the royal family he said,
“I don’t think it is presumptuous of us to do it or wrong of us to do it. For Charles or William or Harry it would be agonising to watch. That upsets me. But I don’t think we’ve done anything unreasonable or cruel.”
The rumor is well known to be inaccurate because Diana met Hewitt two years after Harry’s birth in 1984. And the red hair that Harry has is a common genetic feature from Diana’s side of the family. Others who are close to the family have vociferously denied this display. Senior Tory Sir Nicholas Soames who is a good friend of Prince Charles said,
“From what I’ve heard, this drama is repulsive rubbish and I do not intend to watch it.”
Fellow Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg said,
“I am sorry that the BBC plans to demean itself by such mean-minded slurs.”
Writer and broadcaster Hugo Vickers said,
“This claim is absolutely ridiculous. I think it’s in extremely bad taste for the BBC to peddle this sort of thing and I don’t know how they can think they can get away with it. It’s unpleasant of them to highlight something they know to be untrue. The BBC has no evidence to substantiate this claim and, what’s more, they know it has no evidence.”
Royal biographer Margaret Holder said,
“It’s nonsense and an urban myth. It has caused a lot of embarrassment and upset for the Prince and the rest of the family. The BBC is stirring up an old story which is false and which is going to cause offence to Prince Harry, Prince Charles and the memory of the Princess of Wales.”
Buckingham Palace did not comment on the controversy and has refused to. A BBC spokesperson even refused to apologize saying that the play is critically acclaimed and award winning without providing any indication they were sorry for their actions. The royal family has always been repulsed by media attention, and this will likely get the same reaction as have other situations in the past.
If it is true, which it certainly seems it is not, it would be a controversy like no other.
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