Royal Fit

Pulled Documentary Says William Felt ‘Used’ by Charles’ Push for Camilla

The still-grieving 16-year-old prince was left stung by his father’s campaign to make the public accept Parker Bowles, according to new details about a now-sidelined documentary.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Prince William believed he was “used” by his father as part of public-relations push to ingratiate Camilla Parker Bowles with the general public.

The claim is one of a series of allegations made in a controversial documentary that the BBC has now pulled.

However, an article designed to act as a tie-in to the piece has been published as planned in the BBC magazine Radio Times.

The article was written by the documentary’s presenter, Steve Hewlett, who was the editor of Panorama when the show carried the Martin Bashir interview with Princess Diana in 1995.

Hewlett says in his Radio Times article that Prince Charles hired spin doctor Mark Bolland, and one of his tasks was to bring about a degree of public acceptance for the woman the prince described as a “non-negotiable” part of his life—Camilla Parker Bowles.

The campaign was known to palace insiders as “Operation Mrs. PB.”

In the article for Radio Times, Hewlett says Prince William was left distraught when details of his first meeting with Parker Bowles at St. James Palace made headlines in The Sun, some 10 months after his mother’s death and just before his 16th birthday: “The first Sandy Henney over in the press office knew of the meeting was when The Sun reporter Charles Rae telephoned her. She had to break the news to William that The Sun had the story.“

Henney reportedly says in her interview for the documentary: “He [William] was understandably really upset because it was private. And apart from being angry and upset that this had got out, he wanted to know how it had happened.”

Hewlett writes: “In fact news of the meeting had leaked accidentally from one of Camilla’s staff but all the detail, Rae says, was furnished by Bolland—a version of events Bolland wholly rejects. In any case, Henney describes it as a ‘defining moment’ for Prince William, who felt as if he had been used to further his father’s interests.”

The decision to postpone the broadcast until later in 2015 is believed to have been taken by James Harding, head of BBC news and current affairs.

The BBC said in a brief statement today that the program was being delayed into the new year “until a number of issues including use of archive footage” were resolved.