The broadcaster‘s royal correspondent has been under fire after he made a number of claims regarding Prince Harry and his appearance at his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral this month. The BBC staunchly defended the journalist, after DIY SOS host Nick Knowles described Mr Witchell’s analysis of Harry as “complete drivel”. Complaints were reportedly sent into the BBC, with many unhappy with Mr Witchell’s comments over Harry and the reported rift he has with his brother Prince William.
In his piece for the BBC, Mr Witchell claimed the “body language” between William and Harry “didn’t look encouraging”.
On Twitter, viewers condemned the journalist, including some who claimed he was not showing the impartially the BBC prides itself on.
Yet, this isn’t the first time the correspondent, who has been working for the BBC since 1976, has infuriated royals fans – and even those inside Buckingham Palace.
In 2000, Charles was reportedly furious with Mr Witchell when he drew comparisons with the Prince of Wales and his partner Camilla Parker Bowles’ trip to Greece, with Edward VIII and Ms Simpson.
He likened the holiday to the similar exotic excursions Edward and Ms Simpson used to enjoy, after the monarch decided to abdicate in 1936 to be with his lover.
According to a senior aide, Charles was “absolutely furious for the BBC to make such a comparison”.
The Daily Mail reported that the insider added: “He was shouting and complaining, particularly upset that the Queen had seen Witchell’s broadcast, too.”
The row would continue throughout the decade, and Charles would once again unleash his frustration with Mr Witchell – this time over a report he made regarding the death of Princess Margaret.
And in the same year as Margaret’s death, the world also mourned the loss of the Queen Mother.
During his coverage of the event, he upset viewers with his description of people “chatting and laughing” at the funeral, before adding: “It’s clearly a solemn occasion.”
Prior to Charles’ wedding to Camilla in 2005, Mr Witchell was perhaps most famously on the receiving end of a public dressing down by the Prince of Wales.
The BBC journalist directed a question to William and Harry while they were at a ski resort in Klosters, Switzerland, and Charles was picked up muttering to his sons in dialogue that would be picked up by a boom microphone.
Charles told his children: “Bloody people. I can’t bear that man. I mean, he’s so awful, he really is.”
More recently though, the BBC came out in defence of Mr Witchell’s withering assessment of Harry and William’s relationship.
A spokesperson told the Daily Express: “Nicholas Witchell reported in detail on the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, reflecting its historic and national significance, remembering the life and achievements of the Duke, while also examining what this moment meant for the Royal Family.
“The relationship between Prince Harry and Prince William has been a focus of interest in recent weeks.
“In this context, Nicholas offered analysis of the implications of this solemn event on the Royal Family and what could be construed about current family relations from what was seen at the funeral.
“This was a legitimate, impartial and proportionate part of the coverage of this story.”
Published at Mon, 26 Apr 2021 14:32:35 +0000