‘Safe’ Kate Middleton was urged to speak up: ‘Needed to hear more from her’

William and Kate arrive at the Royal Variety Performance

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Prince William and Kate, both 39, this week released a statement via their royal household that said it was “disappointing” the BBC had aired “unfounded” claims in a new documentary series. ‘The Princes and the Press’ shines a spotlight on the media’s relationship with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The two-parter is presented by Amol Rajan, who is the BBC’s media editor and a host on Radio 4.

He speaks to royal correspondents and commentators for the programme to examine how narratives are created about the Royal Family.

The senior royals have hit back at the documentary however, with Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House, releasing a strongly worded joint statement before episode one was broadcast on Monday.

It read: “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.”

In episode one, Kate was referred to by former royal editor Camilla Tominey as being “quiet” in 2017.

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Ms Tominey, who was royal editor of The Sunday Express from 2005 to 2018, was discussing Meghan and Harry’s incredible popularity with the public in the early stages of their relationship.

She said: “I was quite excited about it all because I had written about the Cambridges sort of being quite safe.

“And I’d written a piece about Kate, perhaps, we needed to hear more from her.”

The documentary includes data from YouGov, which shows how Harry’s approval ratings were higher than his brother William’s for the first time in 2017.

Meghan and Harry were greeted by an excited response from the British public after their relationship was revealed in October 2016.

The story of their secret romance was broken by Ms Tominey, who opened up in the documentary about discovering Meghan’s background.

She said: “When I put her name into Google, I was sort of blown away by who this girl was.

“I thought, ‘Goodness me. This woman is extremely glamorous, clearly already has a profile.”

During the year following the news of the Sussexes’ relationship, the couple were compared to the Cambridges in the media.

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William was described as “workshy” by a number of outlets, which pointed to his perceived lack of royal engagements.

Meanwhile, Meghan and Harry drew positive coverage from many sections of the media, with the pair being dubbed the new “golden couple”.

Meghan had “box office” appeal, according to the Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell.

The writer, who also spoke to the documentary, explained how Meghan was treated like a “rock star” during her early public appearances.

Ms Platell claimed that “Kate never had crowds screaming at her” in the way that Meghan did.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who married in 2018, stepped down from their royal roles last year.

They now live in Montecito, California with their two young children, Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana.

‘The Princes and the Press’ is available on BBC iPlayer.

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