It continues to be utterly bizarre to watch the British news channels and Buckingham Palace actually *debate* whether the royals get to edit or censor coverage of state events. It happened during Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral too, which was a “state funeral,” paid for by the British taxpayers. The palace demanded that various edits be made to the broadcast, and the palace somehow “owns” the funeral footage too. That is just… completely idiotic, especially for an institution which is supposed to be only symbolically powerful. Well, the exact same thing is happening with the coronation, except British broadcasters are fighting back against the palace.

The BBC, ITN and Sky are playing “hardball” with Buckingham Palace in an attempt to ensure that they have free rein over video of the coronation. Discussions are under way with royal officials about removing the restrictions imposed on highlights programmes after they were only allowed to use 60 minutes of material from the late Queen’s funeral.

In September The Guardian revealed that the broadcasters were given several days to submit a short compilation from the ten days of mourning for the palace to approve for future use, with all other material taken out of circulation. As well as giving them greater editorial control, the broadcasters are keen to secure freedom for the context in which the video is used, so they can be included in an array of programmes without the palace having to grant express permission first.

“The broadcasters are playing harder ball than we did last time,” a person familiar with the talks said. “We aren’t taking anything lying down.”

With a second source confirming that talks are continuing, the view from the group is that there is a clear difference between the stance the palace took over the funeral and next month’s celebratory event. “It was fair to an extent for them to say that the funeral was a family occasion with particular sensitivities but the coronation is a far more overtly public event and so the bar [for blocking video] should be higher,” a source said.

The broadcasters’ primary ambition is to ensure that they are able to make the best possible content available to audiences after the event. “Ultimately this comes down to the editorial,” they added. “We are spending a lot of money and putting a lot of time and energy into the coronation. “Crucially it is a historic, taxpayer-funded event and if [palace concerns] are about maintaining the smoke and mirrors of monarchy then what’s that about?”

They added that it is vital that they are trusted to act responsibly, pointing to previous decisions to expunge moments that were considered inappropriate from follow-up shows without the need for prompting from the palace. While the broadcasters do not share any revenue generated from the highlights programming with the palace, they fund the cost of the production, which they do not expect to recoup fully.

[From The Times]

“It was fair to an extent for them to say that the funeral was a family occasion” – no, it wasn’t. It was a state funeral, held at Westminster Abbey. Broadcasters should have full rights to all of their own footage!! One could argue – I suppose – that QEII’s second service, the one at Windsor Castle, was more of the “family service.” But again, it was all part of the STATE FUNERAL. Because QEII was the sitting head of state. Just as King Charles is the current head of state, and the coronation is a state event, funded by taxpayers. Why are British broadcasters bowing and scraping over this? Why is the palace behaving like the coronation is a private party, the broadcast rights to which they own completely?

Meanwhile, the palace confirmed last week that the moment of “anointment” will not be shown on camera during the Chubbly. Part of the unholy alliance between church and state means that the Archbishop of Canterbury will anoint Charles with holy oil, but the palace has told broadcasters that they can’t show it.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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