British TV channels are locked in a battle with the monarchy over who controls the historical record of commemorating Queen Elizabeth II, after Buckingham Palace insisted broadcasters could only keep an hour of footage for future use.
BBC, ITV and Sky News They were given until Monday to produce a 60-minute clip collection they would like to keep from the festive events that take place during the Queen’s 10 days of mourning. The royal family will then consider whether to veto any proposed inclusions.
Once the process is complete, the vast majority of other footage from the festive events will then be taken out of circulation. Any news outlets wishing to use unapproved videos 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’s completely illogical and meaningless,” said one journalist familiar with the negotiations. “We are angry because they are trying to limit how people can relive dismal but important historical events.”
The negotiations shed more light on how the royal family has shaped news coverage of the Queen’s death. Former ITN editor Stuart Purvis said the policy amounts to self-censorship.
Buckingham Palace did not respond to a request for comment.
The Guardian newspaper had earlier revealed the palace Vetoed several sections of the Queen’s memorial service and ban their reuse in news reports and social media clips. The royal staff had a WhatsApp group that included top executives from BBC, ITV and Sky News which they used to control which footage could be used. A member of the royal family will send a message every five minutes either approving or rejecting the use of the previous video.
There was reluctant acceptance of this approach among British broadcasters, particularly when the Palace suggested that the footage was intrusive into the personal grief of members of the royal family. But the battle has now turned over who controls the historical narrative of the Queen’s death.
One reporter said, “We all get moments of individual distress that we may not want to reconsider. This is a different decision than needing to remove a wide shot.”
According to sources in the broadcasters, the palace said they could retain the rights to show up to 12 minutes of footage from Westminster Abbey’s hour-long funeral service, 12 minutes of the Windsor Castle referral service and just a few minutes of each of the various vigils held during The Queen’s coffin is in Westminster Hall in London and St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
One point of contention is the palace’s assertion that it has a veto over the use of footage from King Charles III’s accession council. This was the long event in which the new king was officially proclaimed in a televised ceremony involving senior politicians, under the direction of Benny Mordaunt.
Broadcasters have been told that they are allowed to hold a maximum of 12 minutes of footage of this important constitutional occasion. The longer sections will need to be scanned with the royal family.
The concern is that a royal veto will be used to remove somewhat embarrassing moments from the historical record. At one time, the king was seen as annoyed by Having a pen on the table in the accession board. The palace is also believed to have raised concerns over a shot from Westminster Hall that showed Mike Tindall, husband of the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, checking his watch while observing the Queen lying in state.
Purvis told LBC he had concerns that the royal family had confirmed their ability to retroactively take the footage out of circulation. “Once it’s moved, once we’ve taped into our homes and our video recorders and suddenly we’re told some sequences didn’t happen, we can’t show them again and that’s unreal,” he said.
“There is no other way to explain it other than effective censorship but essentially self-censorship. It was a great cover and I think the minors would reflect that they made a mistake.”