BBC journalists have fired back at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s claims regarding their 2017 engagement interview in their new Netflix docuseries.
In the third episode, of the first three that were released on Thursday, the couple claim that their engagement interview with the outlet five years ago was “orchestrated” and “rehearsed.”
“We weren’t allowed to tell our story because they didn’t want [us to],” Markle says in the episode, to which Harry adds: “We’ve never been allowed to tell our story.”
The actress didn’t clarify who “they” referred to- the royal family or the BBC.
One of BBC’s most esteemed journalists, Mishal Husain, who conducted the couple’s engagement interview, disputed Meghan and Harry’s claims, along with some of her co-workers.
When the documentary premiered on Thursday morning U.K. time, Husain was co-hosting the BBC radio program “Today” with Justin Webb. She laughed while contributor and royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, reiterated the couple’s allegations.
“Bit of a blow there,” Dymond jokingly said to Husain and Webb. “I don’t know who orchestrated it, maybe it was all part of Mishal’s evil plan.”
“I mean I was relatively new to the job and it seemed like a rather charming interview of two people very much in love and Mishal lobbing questions at them,” Dymond continued. “But apparently yes, that was an ‘orchestrated reality show.’ We will find out maybe later in these programs who the puppeteers really are,” he said, referring to when the last three episodes of “Harry & Meghan” drop on Dec. 15.
Webb then joked that Dymond was “Leaving me sitting next to the orchestrator,” as the contributor signed off.
“We know recollections may vary on this particular subject but my recollection is very much ‘asked to do an interview and do said interview,’” Husain responded, paraphrasing a statement that Queen Elizabeth II made last year in response to Meghan and Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. At the time, the late monarch said that while Buckingham Palace was taking the couple’s racist allegations against the royal family seriously, “some recollections may vary.”
Later on Thursday, Husain made an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s show “World at One” where she broke down her version of how the engagement interview unfolded.
“I remember it as being a day that was full of joy, where the major focus for everyone who was there from the BBC team was to make sure that Harry and Meghan, the two people at the heart of it, felt as comfortable as possible,” she said, “because this was their day.”
“We went to Kensington Palace, we went and had a conversation with Harry and Meghan and two members of their team beforehand and we talked about what the interview would cover, what they felt comfortable sharing,” she continued. “And after that we went and set up our cameras, they went away for a bit, did their photocell and when they came back we recorded a 20 minute interview.”
In a statement provided to “World at One”, Lord Tony Hall, who was the BBC director general in 2017, said Meghan and Harry’s claims of the “orchestrated” and “rehearsed” interview are “simply untrue.”
Elsewhere, BBC’s long-serving royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell, criticized Markle’s claim that the media intended to “destroy” her while appearing on the network’s “News at Six”.
“The idea that anyone was out to ‘destroy her’ frankly I think is absurd and simply does not stand up to proper and reasonable scrutiny,” he said.
A spokesperson for BBC also directed Variety to Husain’s “World at One” interview, saying, “We have nothing further to add.”