ITV ditches claim about Prince William’s staff planting stories about Harry from brothers-at-war documentary at the 11th hour amid fears it was ‘defamatory’
- Omid Scobie, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s biographer, suggested palace sources briefed newspapers over concerns about Prince Harry’s mental health
- Prince Harry had spoken with journalist Tom Bradby in 2019 where he admitted to a rift with his brother for the first time
- Scobie has now said a negative spin was put on that interview by palace sources
- Claims were cut from ITV’s documentary ‘Harry and William: What Went Wrong?’
Omid Scobie, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex‘s biographer, had suggested palace sources briefed newspapers over concerns about Harry’s state of mind following an interview he gave.
Harry had spoken with journalist Tom Bradby in 2019 where he admitted to a rift with his brother for the first time. And Mr Scobie has now said a negative spin was subsequently put on that interview by palace sources.
The claims were due to be aired in ITV’s prime-time documentary ‘Harry and William: What Went Wrong?’ which was broadcast last night. But at the 11th hour the claim was cut from the show.
Claims that Prince William and his staff planted a story about Prince Harry’s mental health were cut from a documentary at the 11th hour yesterday after warnings that they were defamatory
Kensington Palace is believed to have contacted the producers in relation to a ‘number’ of details. One of these was a clear rebuttal of Mr Scobie’s suggestion that William had expressed a ‘concern’ about his brother’s mental health, which the author had no evidence to support.
William is a dedicated campaigner on mental health issues and would take a dim view of any suggestion that he or his staff would brief about that.
It is understood that after ‘carefully considering’ the palace’s request, ITV chose to remove any reference to mental health from the sequence, although they chose to keep in Mr Scobie’s comment about an alleged briefing from Kensington Palace relating to Harry.
Omid Scobie, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s biographer, had suggested palace sources briefed newspapers over concerns about Harry’s state of mind following an interview he gave
Harry told ITV’s Tom Bradby that he and his brother ‘were on different paths’ in 2019. In the same programme, Meghan revealed to Bradby (pictured) that she was ‘surviving, not thriving’
The original 2019 ITV documentary, filmed in Africa during the couple’s last official tour for the Royal Family, saw Harry admit to Bradby that he did not see his brother much any more while Meghan accused the royal household of failing to support her.
Mr Scobie, co-author of the flattering Finding Freedom biography of the Sussexes, is seen by some as a cheerleader and unofficial spokesman for the couple.
In the original version of last night’s documentary, he suggested that palace sources briefed the Press about Harry’s mental health in the aftermath of the Bradby programme – possibly on William’s orders – a situation he described as ‘ugly’. But Kensington Palace warned ITV that such a suggestion, if it formed part of the ITV programme, would be defamatory in that it was substantially untrue.
At the time of the Bradby interview, royal insiders made clear they felt it was an inappropriate line of questioning by the journalist and were at pains to point out that William had been distressed and concerned to see his brother so upset.
But there was absolutely no mention of his mental health. William has done a lot of mental health campaigning, and helped to set up the royal Heads Together project to promote better understanding on the issue.