To say that the royal family has a complicated relationship with the British press would be an understatement. Anyone following Prince Harry’s civil lawsuit against The Sun for phone hacking and invasion of privacy understands how intrusive they can be, but when the palace needs some good press, they know exactly who to call.
An exclusive SheKnows clip from the upcoming National Geographic documentary, Charles: In His Own Words, shows how then-Prince Charles reacted to the media after two blank shots from a starting pistol were fired at him during his Australia Day speech in Sydney in 1994. The press described how Charles “held his ground” during the scary event as security rushed at the protestor. It was a heavily covered moment in his career, but Prince Charles wasn’t too pleased with how the moment was portrayed, even though he saw a boost in his popularity because of his calm reaction to the situation.
“Why do you listen to all of this rubbish that these people say?” Charles combatively explained in a 1994 radio interview with Robin Harrison. “It’s not done for my image, for goodness sake. What I don’t understand is that you all gotta have some angle on everything all of the time instead of just treating something as part of life.” He goes on to say that there is always danger in leading a public life, but the 24-hour news cycle is forcing journalists to make “the news more exciting.”
At that moment, Charles sounded like he hated the British press, but if we fast forward to Harry’s current court case, things are quite different. The Duke of Sussex is accusing his father of interfering in his legal claims going back to 2017, even though he had Queen Elizabeth II’s blessing to sue. And the reasons for Charles’ alleged meddling are quite fascinating. “Harry now believes his father and royal courtiers were prioritizing positive coverage of his father and Camilla in The Sun, rather than seeking to back his legal claims,” per the court documents obtained by The Guardian. So, it feels like Charles doesn’t necessarily love the press, but when he needs them to help boost his image, they are his best friends.
This conflict of interest goes back decades in the royal family, ever since they established the Royal Rota over 40 years ago. Prince Harry keeps pointing out the hypocrisy, but so far, no one at the palace is listening.
Charles: In His Own Words premieres on National Geographic on Friday, April 28, 10/9c and then will be available on Saturday, April 29, on Hulu and Friday, May 5, on Disney+.
Before you go, click here to see every single detail we know about King Charles III’s coronation so far.
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