Princess Diana documentary axed by BBC after Prince Charles' lawyers intervene

Reinventing the Royals was due to air on Sunday but has been pulled

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The Independent Culture

The BBC has axed a two-part documentary about the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death after alleged action from Prince Charles’ lawyers.

Reinventing the Royals was due to air at 9pm on Sunday, but is understood to have been put on hold by BBC news chief James Harding after its inclusion in the TV schedule sparked controversy.

Presented by former Panorama editor Steve Hewlett, the programme investigates the PR tactics used to boost the image of the Royal Family and Camilla Parker Bowles (‘Operation Mrs PB’) in the wake of the tragic 1997 Paris car crash.

Steve Hewlett presents Reinventing the Royals

The first ever TV interview with Prince Charles’ press secretary at the time, Sandy Henney, features in the show, along with claims that Prince Williams felt he was “used to further his father’s interests” when details of his first meeting with Parker Bowles just ten months after his mother’s death appeared in the tabloids.

“Charles was getting some pretty virulent criticism – bad father, unloving husband,” Henny says.

“I think he was pretty hurt. If you’ve got a middle-aged balding man and a beautiful princess, it’s a no brainer as to who is going to get the media coverage.”


A BBC spokesperson said: "The BBC is delaying broadcast of the documentary Reinventing the Royals, due to be shown on BBC Two on 4 January, until later in the New Year while a number of issues including the use of archive footage are resolved."

However, according to Radio Times, Clarence House intervened to stop its transmission.

Royal sources are believed to have confirmed that talks have been continuing with the BBC throughout the making of the show, which start filming nearly a year ago.

Clarence House has denied asking for Reinventing the Royals to be shelved, with a spokesman saying that “scheduling of television programmes is a matter for the broadcaster”.