Kensington Palace lied about Netflix contacting them, KP asked for ‘H&M’ footage

When Netflix’s Harry & Meghan Volume 1 dropped, people were surprised to see this panel come up in the first episode: “Members of the Royal Family declined to comment on the content within this series.” Within hours, Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace sent out “royal sources” (their senior staffers) to claim that the Windsors were NEVER contacted by Netflix. That was quickly revealed to be yet another palace lie. Friend-of-the-blog Ellie Hall at Buzzfeed did some digging on the palace’s lies and how quickly they tried to backtrack about whether they were actually contacted. What Ellie found out was pretty funny:

When the first three episodes of Netflix’s Harry & Meghan were released on Dec. 8, the first official response from Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace was that neither of their press offices nor any members of the royal family had been approached to comment for the docuseries. That story soon changed, and communications reviewed by BuzzFeed News now show that not only had the press representatives been contacted, one of the top palace communications officials tried to get advance footage.

The royal family’s top press officials initially told reporters they had not been contacted for comment by the producers of Harry & Meghan… Hours later, the officials changed their story, saying that they had been contacted by “a third-party production company” but their attempts to verify the company’s authenticity with Netflix and Archewell Productions (the Sussexes’ production company, which co-produced the docuseries) received no response.

However, Harry & Meghan production company Story Syndicate told BuzzFeed News that not only had the chief press officers at Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace been contacted for an official response, but that Lee Thompson, communications secretary for the Prince and Princess of Wales, confirmed receipt of the email and requested to see footage from the docuseries.

Spokespersons for each palace said that they contacted Archewell Productions and Netflix in an attempt to verify the authenticity of the production company’s email. These spokespersons said that they did not receive a response to their inquiries from either Archewell Productions or Netflix and thus were unable to provide a response. They also told reporters that the emails they received did not address the entire series. These facts were widely reported by royal reporters from many publications, attributed to a “royal source” or a “senior royal source.”

BuzzFeed News can confirm that these “royal sources” were Thompson and his counterpart at Buckingham Palace: Tobyn Andreae, communications secretary to King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort. The two regularly brief selected royal reporters — and provide instructions about how these briefings and guidance are to be attributed — in a WhatsApp group.

Emails between Thompson and one of the show’s producers, dated Nov. 30, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and their authenticity was confirmed by Story Syndicate. A spokesperson for Story Syndicate told BuzzFeed News that Thompson did not reply to a follow-up email in which the company declined to provide clips from Harry & Meghan (as is standard industry practice) but reiterated the claims that would be made and requested Kensington Palace’s official response.

Story Syndicate said that it had no evidence of anyone from Buckingham Palace reaching out in response to the initial email and confirmed that it was sent not to a general mailbox but to Andreae’s direct email address. (A spokesperson added that there was no “bounceback” to the email, an automatic reply that indicates an inbox is full and the recipient might be unable to read the message.) This spokesperson also noted to BuzzFeed News that a request for comment sent to Jason Knauf, former royal employee and current director of the Earthshot Prize (a competition founded by Prince William), on the same date as the emails to both palaces received a response that was included in Harry & Meghan.

A spokesperson for Netflix said the company can find no evidence that it had been contacted by either Kensington Palace or Buckingham Palace through any common channels of communication, but cautioned that there is a possibility an email could have been sent to an obscure account.

The Sussexes’ global press secretary, Ashley Hansen, told Buzzfeed News that an Archewell employee from an unrelated branch of the company was contacted by a royal employee after the deadline Story Syndicate had given for a response to be included in the docuseries. Hansen said that neither she nor any other members of the Archewell communications team (which represents Archewell Productions, Archewell Audio, and the Archewell Foundation) were contacted by spokespersons for the royal family.

[From Buzzfeed]

Once again, it’s amateur hour at the palace. Why did they feel like they couldn’t say “we were contacted and we declined to comment”? That’s what genuinely happened! Instead, the palace created a psychodrama to try to make the Sussexes look like liars… for no reason other than stupidity and malice. And the fact that William’s comms secretary and Charles’s comms secretary have a dumb WhatsApp group with royal reporters so they can all get their dumb stories straight… behold, the invisible contract. Not so much a contract as a bunch of idiots and liars in a group chat, trying to figure out how to always blame the Sussexes for everything.

Photos courtesy of Netflix.

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