Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s PR team warned BBC reporters not to just use “old white men” in their coverage of the Oprah interview, it has emerged.
A representative from the former royals’ new company Archewell apparently emailed correspondents before the programme aired and warned them to be impartial.
The interview which aired on CBS on Sunday has provoked a huge amount of debate across all sections of the media on everything from mental health to the future direction of the monarchy.
Harry and Meghan’s team stressed to the BBC that a “broad range of contributors” was needed to discuss the issues.
BBC sources took offence to the email, calling it a bit strange.’ The broadcaster prides itself on its impartiality, which is one of the key principles of the organisation’s news coverage.
An insider told The Sun: “The BBC by its very nature has to be impartial at all times. So, to be told how to conduct their coverage of a major news event by a PR person acting on behalf of Harry and Meghan is a bit strange, to say the least.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “We’re contacted by PRs all the time…We had a broad range of voices and don’t believe there are issues.”
Coverage of the interview has proven almost as controversial as the interview itself, with Piers Morgan resigning from Good Morning Britain after his views on the duchess sparked tens of thousands of complaints.
It’s understood the Meghan herself made a formal complaint about the presenter to ITV bosses before he left the show on Tuesday.
But her concern was not about the personal attacks on the validity of her racism allegation made against the royal family or her claims she was not supported by the institution when experiencing suicidal thoughts.
The complaint was understood to focus on how Pier’s comments may affect the issue of mental health generally and those attempting to deal with their own problems.
Meanwhile, the executive director of The Society of Editors, an industry body for the UK press, has resigned following a row over its reaction to comments made by the Sussexes about racism in the media.
Ian Murray said he would step down from his role so the organisation can ‘rebuild its reputation.
A strongly-worded statement issued by the body following Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah said it was ‘not acceptable for the couple to make claims of racism in the press “without supporting evidence”, adding that the press in the UK was not racist.