BBC media editor apologises for ‘rude and immature’ comments about royal family

Former Independent editor Amol Rajan called Duke of Edinburgh ‘racist buffoon’ in 2012 article

Chiara Giordano
Thursday 02 December 2021 13:24 GMT
BBC media editor Amol Rajan has apologised for historic comments about the royal family
BBC media editor Amol Rajan has apologised for historic comments about the royal family (Matt Crossick/PA)

The BBC’s media editor has apologised for “rude and immature” comments he made about the royal family in articles nearly a decade ago.

Amol Rajan, 38, described the Duke of Edinburgh as a “racist buffoon” and the Prince of Wales as “scientifically illiterate” in comment pieces published by The Independent newspaper in 2012.

One article described the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as “little more than the industrialisation of mediocrity” also criticised the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex, who he said were “the sort of posh nice-but-dims our democracy has struggled for centuries to remove from authority”.

A second piece published later the same year said the public roles of the William and his wife Kate, the Duchess the Cambridge, were a “total fraud” and called on them to “renounce the luxuries of royal patronage and aristocracy”.

Rajan, who edited The Independent between 2013 and 2016, presented a controversial recent BBC documentary examining the relationship between William and Harry.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday, the journalist, who is also a presenter for Radio 4’s Today programme, apologised for any offence his words in the 2012 article had caused.

He wrote: “In reference to very reasonable questions about some foolish commentary from a former life, I want to say I deeply regret it.

“I wrote things that were rude and immature and I look back on them now with real embarrassment, and ask myself what I was thinking, frankly.

“I would like to say sorry for any offence they caused then or now.

“I’m completely committed to impartiality and hope our recent programmes can be judged on their merits.”

The BBC declined to comment further.

It comes after BBC Two’s The Princes And The Press, which aired last month and was fronted by Rajan, was criticised by the royal households for giving credibility to “overblown and unfounded claims”, and prompted the broadcast of a special Christmas carol service led by the Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey to be moved from the BBC to ITV.

The two-part documentary, which examined the relationship between the royal brothers and the media, included claims that negative stories about the Duchess of Sussex had been leaked by courtiers and alleged there was competitiveness between their households.

Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace took the rare step of issuing a joint statement to the broadcaster which was included at the end of the BBC Two documentary.

The statement from the palaces said: “A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy.

“However, too often it is overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources that are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.”

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