British broadcasters are fighting the monarchy for control of the Queen’s memorial material

British television broadcasters are in a battle with the monarchy over who controls the historical recording of Queen Elizabeth II’s commemorations after Buckingham Palace insisted broadcasters could only keep an hour of footage for future use.

BBC, ITV and Sky News have until Monday to produce a 60-minute compilation of clips they wish to keep from ceremonial events during the 10 days of the Queen’s mourning. The Royal Household will then consider whether to veto proposed inclusions.

Once the process is complete, the vast majority of other ceremonial footage will be retired. Any news outlets wanting to use unauthorized footage would have to apply to the royal family on a case-by-case basis, even for material that has already been broadcast to tens of millions of people.

“It is completely illogical and makes no sense,” said a journalist with knowledge of the negotiations. “We are angry that they are trying to limit how people can relive somber but important historical events.”

The negotiations shed further light on how the royal family has shaped coverage of the Queen’s death. Former ITN editor Stewart Purvis said the policy was tantamount to self-censorship.

Buckingham Palace did not respond to a request for comment.

The Guardian has previously revealed that the Palace has vetoed several clips from the Queen’s memorial services, banning their re-use in news reports and social media clips. Royal staff had a WhatsApp group with senior executives from BBC, ITV and Sky News, which they used to control what footage could be used. A member of the royal household sent a message every five minutes, either approving or disapproving the use of the previous video block.

This approach was only reluctantly accepted by British broadcasters, particularly as the footage proposed by the Palace penetrated the royals’ personal grief. But now the battle has shifted to who controls the historical narrative of the Queen’s death.

One journalist said: “We all feel that moments of individual distress may not wish to be repeated. It’s a different decision than having to remove a long-range shot.”

According to sources at the broadcasters, the palace has said they may retain the right to show up to 12 minutes of footage from the hour-long funeral service at Westminster Abbey, 12 minutes from the funeral service at Windsor Castle and just minutes of each of the various Vigils held when the Queen’s coffin lay at Westminster Hall in London and St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

A particular bone of contention is the Palace’s claim that it vetoed the use of footage of King Charles III’s accession council. This was the protracted event at which the new monarch was officially proclaimed in a televised ceremony with leading politicians led by Penny Mordaunt.

Broadcasters have been told they can retain a maximum of 12 minutes of footage from this constitutionally important event. Longer clips would have to be cleared with the royal household.

The concern is that the royal veto will be used to erase easily embarrassing moments from the historical record. At one point the King was irritated by the presence of a pen on the Accession Council table. The palace is also believed to have raised concerns over a footage from Westminster Hall showing Mike Tindall, husband of the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, looking at his watch while watching the Queen as she lay in state.

Purvis told LBC he was concerned the royal family had claimed they could withdraw footage after the fact. “Once it’s broadcast, once we’ve taped in our own homes and our own VCRs and suddenly we’re told certain sequences didn’t happen, we can’t show them again and that’s just unrealistic,” he said.

“There is no other way to interpret that as effectively no censorship, but essentially self-censorship. It was wonderful coverage and I think the Palace will reflect that they made a mistake.”

#British #broadcasters #fighting #monarchy #control #Queens #memorial #material

About the author


Leave a Comment