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Royal family issue rare joint statement over BBC Two documentary on rift

Episode 2 airs on Tuesday night

Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Place have issued a rare joint statement after a new BBC Two documentary, The Princes and the Press, aired on Monday night.

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The first episode of the two-part programme, presented by Amol Rajan, explored the relationship of Prince William and Prince Harry with the media, including suggestions of royal sources briefing journalists behind the scenes.

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In a statement given to the BBC, and shown at the end of the programme, the royal households said: "A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy.

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"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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The first episode covered the "new generation" of royals

The first hour-long episode, titled 'New Generation', covered the years following the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the positive media reaction to the emergence of a new generation of royals. It charts the years leading up to and including the engagement and marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Providing context for the Princes' relationship with the media, the film examines some of the illegal activities engaged in by some newspapers in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including 'hacking' and 'blagging', and how these techniques were used to target members of the royal family and their associates.

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The hour-long episode included chats with Meghan's lawyer and journalist Omid Scobie, who wrote Finding Freedom

A lawyer for the Duchess of Sussex also appears, responding to reports about Meghan's alleged treatment of palace staff.

In March, The Times newspaper reported that the Duchess allegedly drove out two personal assistants and "humiliated" staff on several occasions, which she denies.

Jenny Afia, from the law firm Schillings, told Amol: "Those stories were false. This narrative that no one can work for the Duchess of Sussex, she was too difficult and demanding as a boss and everyone had to leave, it's just not true."

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