2024: 100 Days that Rocked the Royals (2024) Movie Script

REPORTER: King Charles
has been diagnosed with cancer
and will be stepping back
from public-facing duties.
Breaking news to bring you now.
Catherine, the Princess of Wales,
has announced she has cancer.
NARRATOR: The first 100 days of 2024
have been devastating
for the monarchy...
We saw the royal family
hit by crisis after crisis.
...the King and the Princess
battling cancer.
I've been most deeply touched
by your wonderfully kind
and thoughtful good wishes.
The cracks and the weaknesses
have been exposed
because you've got two key members
of the family down.
A stricken prince
torn between family and duty.
William, understandably,
is going through
an incredibly difficult time
with all of this as well.
The fact that William
lost his mother as a child
will have had a considerable impact
on the way he chose to handle
his wife's serious
medical condition.
And old fractures resurfaced.
Diana memorial day
was an absolute disaster.
Neither brother
even referenced the other one.
How bad are things between them?
With a depleted monarchy,
the House of Windsor
is navigating uncharted waters.
It's been a storm.
It's been unprecedented
and unsettling and destabilising.
Dealing with family tragedies...
...under intense public scrutiny.
We have to remember
there is a woman, a mother, a wife
behind all of this.
It's been really tough for her.
A hundred days have rocked
the royals to their core.
Will they ever be the same again?
How much more can this family take?
On Friday the 22nd of March,
from the gardens of Windsor,
the Princess of Wales
sent a thunderbolt
that shook the world.
It was a message unlike any before
from the Princess of Wales.
Sitting in the spring gardens
of Windsor,
she revealed to the world that she's
receiving treatment for cancer.
This, of course,
came as a huge shock,
and William and I
have been doing everything we can
to process and manage this privately
for the sake of our young family.
We hope that you'll understand
that, as a family,
we now need
some time, space and privacy
while I complete my treatment.
KATIE NICHOLL: Eventually,
after the many weeks
of the conspiracy theories
and the speculation,
the Princess of Wales explained
why she had been out of
the public spotlight for so long.
She explained that she had
told the news to her children,
to George, to Charlotte and Louis,
and really did ask the public
to just respect
their need for privacy.
RICHARD KAY: We very rarely
hear Catherine speak,
and this was profound.
It must have been
incredibly difficult for her,
but she was very impressive
in her openness,
her candour and her delivery.
Catherine's announcement
was the most shocking
in a torrent of tragic events
that hit the royals.
Both resilience and vulnerability
have been visible
over the last few months.
Vulnerability in the illnesses
that have afflicted key members,
and resilience in the way
that the family have kept going.
Others might have been tempted
to sort of roll up the show
and say, "No, we're not performing.
"We're not gonna go out there.
You'll have to manage without us."
But they keep going. I mean,
that is what monarchy does.
it just sort of pushes on through.
To understand how dark
and turbulent this period has been,
we must return to the Coronation
on the 6th of May, 2023...
...when Charles stood proudly,
flanked by family,
before a global audience
of 400 million.
Charles ascended the throne
with anticipation and optimism.
When you think back
to almost a year today,
the Coronation,
the sun was shining
on the new reign.
King Charles,
Queen Camilla, Prince of Wales,
a radiant Princess of Wales,
the three children.
There was a lot of optimism
in the air.
There was a real sense of having got
past the grief of losing the Queen
and feeling quite grateful
to have a new monarch
and have this new energy around him.
We were feeling good about it.
Let's see what Charles does
on the throne.
But the bright future
had storm clouds on the horizon.
A year on,
it feels very, very shaky.
just one month into the new year,
the royal family's world
was turned upside down.
In late January,
the King entered the London Clinic
to have treatment
for an enlarged prostate.
A health issue he'd chosen
to share with the public.
He was very open.
Ancl the reason, he said,
was because
he wants to encourage other men
to get their prostate checked.
It was quite deliberate
to talk about his prostate
because it is known that men are
bad at checking their prostates
and that doing so can
lengthen lives, in a lot of cases.
That was a very good thing to do,
and the public responded to it
very warmly.
was being lauded and applauded
for his honesty, and actually,
we saw an incredible impact.
We saw men
going onto the NHS websites,
traffic going up
by hundreds of percent
as a direct result
of King Charles's honesty
about his own issues.
But within ten days,
the Palace
made a shocking announcement.
We come on air tonight
with some important news
about the health of the King.
Buckingham Palace has just announced
that King Charles
has been diagnosed with cancer.
REPORTER: In a statement,
the Palace said
that during the King's
recent hospital procedure,
tests have identified
a form of cancer.
He has been advised by doctors
to postpone public-facing duties.
This, of course, sent
huge shock waves around the world.
This was only
a matter of nine or so months
after the Coronation,
and suddenly, he was out of action
and questions
were starting to be asked.
Could we rely on a man
who was in his mid-70s
to be head of state?
Did he have it in him?
Was he going to survive cancer?
In a style that set him apart
from his parents' generation,
Charles shared his cancer diagnosis
with the public.
There's been a complete sea change
in the way
the royals are prepared
to discuss their medical issues.
When we compare it with, say,
Queen Elizabeth,
and particularly Prince Philip,
King Charles has obviously been
much more open.
Everyone's a citizen journalist
now, they've got a camera phone,
and people are inclined
to put up gossip
about the royals all the time.
Ancl I think there's an attempt
to sort of recognise that
and sort of head it off and be
ahead of the game, if you like.
Although specifics
about the type of cancer Charles had
were held back...
The public is so used to
a 24-hour news cycle,
you know,
that they want quick answers.
You know, rapid response.
That can't always happen.
...once Charles revealed his news
to the world,
his role as a father
was put in the spotlight.
His youngest son, Harry,
was thousands of miles away.
And, of course, at that time,
it also brought into contrast -
where's Harry?
He was obviously
very, very concerned
when he got the call from Charles
telling him that he had cancer.
Harry was on the first flight
and there to see his father.
But his urgent visit
was surprisingly brief.
People wanted to see,
I think, I believe,
that Harry and Charles
were beginning to patch things up,
but I think there was disappointment
at the brevity of his visit.
The actual meeting
that Harry and Charles had
was about 45 minutes,
before Charles took
a helicopter trip back to Norfolk.
Rather than dwell on his bad news,
Charles was soldiering on.
The Prime Minister, Your Majesty.
Good evening, Your Majesty.
Very nice to see you.
Ancl wonderful...
Well, yeah. But wonderful.
to see you looking so well.
It's all clone by mirrors.
He wanted to have his chance
on the throne.
It wasn't just a want.
It was a duty.
It was his birthright.
The idea
that he was going to abdicate
and allow William
to leapfrog him to the throne,
for Charles, that would be
a breach of the vows that he made.
He will serve for his whole life,
echoing the pledge
that his mother also made.
It was characteristic of the King,
who takes his public duty
more important than probably
anyone in the royal family.
He is the embodiment
of the monarchy,
and he wants to put his foot down
and continue with reigning.
In recent weeks,
I have been most deeply touched
by your wonderfully kind
and thoughtful
good wishes for my health,
and in return,
can only continue to serve you
to the best of my ability.
Three weeks later,
as the royal family absorbed
the distressing news about Charles,
they were struck yet again
by tragedy beyond their control.
Thomas Kingston was found dead.
KATIE NICHOLL: He's always been
a much-loved and close member
of the royal family.
He was the husband
of Lady Gabriella Windsor,
the daughter of Prince
and Princess Michael of Kent.
He would have been a regular
at royal family gatherings.
The body of the 45-year-old
was discovered at his parents' home
with a traumatic head wound
and a gun nearby.
His death has come
as an absolute shock and trauma
for the royal family.
Obviously at a time
when there's a huge amount going on.
Tom Kingston's tragic death
and King Charles's cancer
would be enough
to rock most families to the core.
But another illness
had also hit the royals,
with the Princess of Wales
admitted to hospital,
setting off a chain of events
that would put the royal family
under immense pressure and scrutiny
that they hadn't experienced
for a generation.
These are absolutely
unprecedented times.
We've not only got the King
taking a leave of absence
on restricted duties,
now we have the Princess of Wales,
and not knowing
when she's going to be back,
they wanted to keep that private
for as long as they could.
Ancl we now know
that this family was fighting
a very private, personal battle.
NARRATOR: On the 5th of February,
King Charles broke the news of
his cancer diagnosis to the world.
They did not disclose
where it was located,
nor how far it has spread,
only that it's not prostate cancer
and that he is stepping back
from public duties for now.
But just six weeks into the year,
he was already
the second senior royal
forced from the public stage,
putting Charles's vision
of a leaner, cheaper royal family
in jeopardy.
The last time we saw the family
all together was at Sandringham
on Christmas Day.
We haven't seen
the Princess of Wales
since Christmas Day.
On Wednesday the 17th ofjanuary,
Kensington Palace announced
that the Princess of Wales
had been admitted to
the same hospital as King Charles.
They said she'd undergone
abdominal surgery.
They didn't say for what.
They said that
she would be off work,
effectively out of the public eye,
until Easter.
Now we know that the King
was toodling down the hall
to see the Princess of Wales
during the afternoons.
It's a great image, isn't it?
When you think about any other
family in that same position,
you would have wanted
to see a familiar face.
Ancl we know that the King
and the Princess of Wales
have an incredible bond.
The Palace said the princess
would remain in hospital
for 10 to 14 days,
sparking curiosity and concern.
AFUA HAGAN: My goodness,
10 to 14 nights in hospital
in 2024 is a long time.
I mean, you can push out a baby,
and you're home the next clay.
You can have an emergency Caesarean
section uncler a general an aesthetic,
and you'll be home in under a week.
So, what happened that requires
such a long hospital stay?
The princess appealed for privacy,
saying she wished to maintain
as much normality for her children
as possible.
There's a certain weight
that comes with that title.
There's a sense of responsibility,
and, of course,
a sense of privilege.
But that also means
that people want more of you.
So, we have two senior royals
having health issues
at the same time.
The King being pretty open about it.
MAN: How are you feeling?
Contrast that to Kate
simply disappearing
from the public eye.
I think
she's entitled to her privacy,
but the royal family is revealing
some details and not others.
And I think
it's the inconsistency with that
that means people feel
entitled to information
that they were never really
entitled to to begin with.
What is it?
What is she suffering from?
If the King can tell us,
why can't she?
But now we know that
there were other things at play,
and they wanted to keep that private
for as long as they could.
With unanswered questions
hanging in the air,
the royals were under scrutiny.
And in the absence
of any news about Kate,
people began to speculate.
The conspiracy theories, which have
been clubbed Kate-spiracy theories,
the absence of this world-famous
woman from our screens,
from our newspapers,
from our social media feeds
for so long, allowed it to develop.
It's all been too tempting a vortex
not to get sucked into,
but it's a dangerous vortex
to get sucked into.
There was this ridiculous story
in Spain
by, actually, quite a respected
Spanish journalist.
A really well-respected journalist,
um, saying that she's got,
from a Palace source,
that the Princess of Wales
was put in an induced coma
clue to complications
from her surgery.
Her situation was very serious,
and much more serious than,
perhaps, we were led to believe.
That was a very, very serious
and damaging and totally,
totally irresponsible claim.
She said this on television,
it was printed in newspapers,
and all across Europe.
As this story about
the princess being in a coma
spread like wildfire
across the internet,
the Palace issued
a furious rebuttal.
Ancl you saw them really very angry
over such a hurtful
and such an irresponsible claim.
But on social media, the hashtag
Where ls Kate was already trending.
I don't pay attention
to the royal family, right?
But, like, I read the news.
Been some big headlines on Twitter,
and there is an insane rabbit hole
of people
who have so many conspiracies
about Kate Middleton.
I need to talk about it.
Not saying I believe it,
but I gotta, like...
I need to talk about what
people are saying cos it's so wild!
Nearly a month later,
the royal family
were trying to continue with life
as normally as possible.
But then came an event
that changed everything.
The Constantine Memorial
was a step change.
There was this -
royally speaking -
star-studded event,
all members of the royal family
turning up,
apart from those
who weren't able to.
Of course, no King,
undergoing treatment for cancer.
No Princess of Wales,
recuperating at home
following her abdominal surgery.
So leading the pack
was meant to be Camilla
and Prince William,
the Prince of Wales.
William, at the last moment,
pulled out of his godfather's
memorial service.
Highly unusual.
Royals like to very much
stick to a routine and don't like
letting people down.
Ancl William was clue to read
one of the lessons,
so he was a key figure
at the service.
William really was gonna be
head of the family,
leading the royals into St George's.
With an hour, 45 minutes to go,
we were all stood in Windsor Castle.
We got messages saying that
William's not going to come,
citing only a "personal matter".
And actually, I think that was
the moment that set the fox running,
as far as conspiracy theories
around what was going on
with Kate and William.
The rumour mill went into overdrive.
Inevitably, him not saying why
caused - sort of supercharged -
all the theories online.
Was it to do with his wife?
Was it to do with something else?
Was it to do with his father,
suddenly a lot more ill
than we thought? Was it to do...
No-one knew, and Kensington Palace
wouldn't be drawn.
And of course,
that vacuum of information,
I think, did create
a massive hullabaloo,
with people coming up with all sorts
of crazy conspiracy theories
and the hashtag Where's Kate,
which seemed to go around the world.
And that started to breed suspicion
and conspiracy theories
and wild stories
about where Kate is
and what she's actually doing
and how serious
was her health condition, and so on.
With the benefit of hindsight,
a lot of what was said
was undoubtedly hurtful
and, in some cases, downright cruel
and totally inaccurate.
But that is what happens
when you get a vacuum.
Caught in the middle of this furore
was Prince William.
William, understandably,
is going through
an incredibly difficult time
with all of this as well.
This is his wife
who is being hounded by the media,
by social media.
Everyone wants to know
what's going on
and is speculating wildly.
You know,
theories that involve him as well.
That is not gonna be easy
for anyone,
but particularly not
for someone who lost their mother
under the circumstances that he did.
I feel for William because he's been
put in a very difficult position,
and he wants
to put his young family first.
With William
torn between duty and family
and King Charles absent,
somebody had to represent the Crown.
In this difficult moment,
an unlikely member of the family
stepped forward.
ADAM BOULTON: The King has given
his wife the status of being Queen,
and that means that
she is now
his main substitute at events.
I think the metamorphosis
of Camilla Parker-Bowles,
as she then was, to Queen Camilla,
is nothing short of remarkable.
I mean, the idea
that the reviled mistress
blamed for the breakdown
of the Waleses' marriage,
you know, the woman who perhaps
threatened to undermine
the entire monarchy,
the idea that now she is the one
saving the monarchy,
she's driving it forwards,
she is there, front and centre,
both at family engagements,
public engagements.
I mean, she is bearing the weight
of the Crown.
Since Charles's cancer diagnosis,
Camilla has carried out
over 13 official engagements.
One thing one has to understand
about Queen Camilla
is that she only
came into public life
comparatively late in life.
She only became Queen when she was,
what, 75 years old?
Ancl in the absence of the King,
William only working part time,
a huge amount of responsibility
fell on Camilla's shoulders.
Ancl it's exhausting.
She's doing engagements
up and down the country,
and obviously, wherever she's going,
people are asking her about the King
and about the Princess of Wales,
and that must be
a lot of pressure for her.
You know,
we saw her take a week off
at the beginning of March,
and everyone was like,
"Oh, my goodness,
"what are we going to do
without Queen Camilla?"
As Camilla disappeared
to hunt partridges
on a private estate
in the Spanish mountains,
Charles's long-held vision
of a slimmed-down monarchy
was beginning to look like
a misstep.
Well, the royal family was
obviously looking pretty threadbare.
She did extremely well
in those early weeks.
But the pressure began to tell.
And, you know, she needed a break.
Um, nobody begrudged her
those few clays she spent in Spain,
but once again,
it exposed the institution.
And on Monday the 4th of March,
the day after Queen Camilla
left the country,
another difficult moment
for the royal family.
CHRIS SHIP: Frankly, there are
some wild conspiracy theories around
about the Princess of Wales
at the moment,
and it was all rather complicated
even further
by the publication
of a paparazzi photograph
of her inside a car with her mother.
That image went round the world
on social media.
However, if you were buying
a newspaper over here in Britain,
you wouldn't have seen that picture.
Ancl that is because
the newspaper editors
are still bound to an agreement
with the Palace
that came into place
after the death of Princess Diana,
that they will not take
intrusive paparazzi pictures
of members of the royal family.
That photograph was pored over.
People were saying
it wasn't Kate's face,
it was the wrong shape.
This, you know,
this was a body double.
Maybe it wasn't
even Carole Middleton.
It was a lookalike for her as well.
It just went even crazier
at that point.
About a week ago, I made this video
that absolutely blew up.
Seems the internet
will never be satisfied,
and there will be conspiracies
everywhere. And yeah, I guess...
Believe the conspiracies
if you want, or don't.
I just think this is so interesting.
What do you think, y'all?
Body double or Kate?
And things showed no sign
of calming down.
Even when Kensington Palace
tried to pour water
on the flames of online trolls.
anyone who wasn't invested before
is now very invested.
I think we need to remember,
regardless of what's going on online
and what people are joking about,
there is a real human person
at the centre of this story.
The 5th of March, a day after
an unauthorised paparazzi photo
of the Princess of Wales
is published in some
international media outlets.
The unwanted attention
continues to build momentum.
Social media posts skyrocketed.
We're gonna check in with you...
And even one of America's
most popular TV comedy programmes
was asking the question
that had captured the nation.
State of the Union on Thursday,
Mm-hm, mm-hm. Yeah, yeah.
Is there something else
you're planning on covering here?
Where is Kate Middleton?
Where are you, Kate? Some people...
These conspiracy theories weren't
just happening on social media.
We then saw them played out
on the mainstream media
on US television,
huge talk show hosts talking about
the royal family's private business,
allegations of their whereabouts,
their relationships.
It was pretty unsavoury.
Ancl people at the Palace
were saying,
"Do people not realise
that they are humans too?
"They have feelings.
They know they're public figures,
"but, you know, they're not immune
to all of this going on."
So, you have a huge pressure
on Kate and those around her
to keep the public informed
about what's going on,
even though they have
publicly and definitively said,
"This is all the information
you're going to get.
"She's out of action.
She won't be back until Easter."
Online, individuals
clamoured for information
and posited their own theories.
If you have been wondering
why Kate Middleton's
alleged disappearance
has been all over the news,
TikTok, Twitter...
We have a Kate Middleton update.
So many people
were talking about it,
coming up with their own ideas.
I mean, they were wild,
but it doesn't end there.
The conspiracies
start blowing up again.
Since January, 276,000 articles
have been written using the words
"Kate Middleton".
As the hashtag Where ls Kate
took over the internet,
global celebrities
jumped on the bandwagon.
When Kim Kardashian,
who has 364 million followers,
posted "On my way to find Kate",
that is feeding a huge audience
on social media.
That is the power of an influencer
like Kim Kardashian.
The mainstream media
started to report
what was being said on social media,
and suddenly, the Palace
couldn't control it any more.
As if the Palace losing control
of the narrative wasn't enough,
in early March,
a member of Catherine's own family
added his voice to the cacophony.
When you have a vacuum
within the royal world,
when you've had... You've got
no Prince William, no Princess Kate,
you've got not much of King Charles,
inevitably, other things
are going to fill the vacuum.
Ancl Gary Goldsmith, Kate's uncle,
was one of those.
Gary Goldsmith was appearing
in Celebrity Big Brother,
where he casually discussed
his niece's private life.
Can I ask you a question?
What's... Where's Kate?
Um, so, because she doesn't
want to talk about it...
We can't talk about it.
There's a kind of code of etiquette.
I spoke to her mum, my sister.
She's getting the best care
in the world.
Ancl all the family's clone
is put the wagons around
and look after family first,
before anything else.
It was a ballsy choice
to have Gary Goldsmith on
because he pleaded guilty
to assaulting his fourth
and still current wife.
He's not exactly the face of royalty
that anybody would want to promote,
so I think it was slightly tricky
for brand William and Catherine
to have him speaking, effectively,
on her behalf
because Kensington Palace
was entirely silent.
Under intense pressure,
the silence at Kensington Palace
was finally broken on Mother's Day.
NEWSREADER: Kensington Palace
released a photo
of Kate and her three children
this morning
to mark Mother's Day.
I think by the time
the Mother's Day photo dropped,
the intrigue and the speculation
had already...
gone beyond that which anyone
would ever have anticipated.
Everyone was invested in this
big question of, "Where is Kate?"
So for the royal family
to answer that question
by dropping that photo,
they knew that that was gonna
get a lot of attention. And it did.
The fact that there were
so many wild rumours
circulating on the internet...
You know, I had calls
from American journalists
asking if she was actually alive.
Ancl that sort of level of scrutiny,
when it gathers momentum online,
you can't avoid it.
Ancl I think the Mother's Day
photograph was a knee-jerk reaction.
Ancl that's unusual for the Palace,
and very unusual for the couple.
As soon as the photo
was posted online,
it was pored over
by social media users.
Here's a closer look at the photo.
It seems like a sweet photo, right?
But when you zoom in
and look at a couple details,
things start to look a little weird.
But the following morning,
in a jaw-dropping intervention,
global news agencies
pulled the photo from circulation,
issuing a kill notice
telling clients not to use it
because it had been manipulated.
To issue a kill notice
against a photograph
that was issued by
the Prince and Princess of Wales
is outrageous.
The discrepancies in the image
were the area around the sleeve
and left hand of Princess Charlotte,
and an unusually straight line
on the edge of her skirt,
the zip on Kate's jacket
and a horizontal line
across her front,
and Kate's blurred hand
on Louis's in-focus jumper,
as well as a misaligned pattern
on Louis's shoulder.
This photograph created so many
problems for the royal family.
It destroyed so much trust.
If you don't have trust,
you don't have a relationship
between the royal family
and the public.
In trying to quell the controversy,
things only got worse,
and a woman we now know
was dealing with a cancer diagnosis
was forced to issue an apology.
I feel so sorry for Kate.
I feel so sorry for her.
Most of us with young kids,
it's a nightmare
trying to take a family picture.
We've become used to Kate
taking photographs of her family.
I mean,
she broke the mould with that.
She sort of pushed
the royal photographers, actually,
out of a job by starting to take
these wonderful, charming images
of her children herself.
Because, frankly,
she got better images
because the children were responding
to their mother behind the lens.
My understanding from the Palace
was that the adjustments that were
made to that Mother's Day picture
were minor adjustments,
not the sort of...
replacing images
and cutting new images in,
or potentially
replacing the Princess of Wales
cos she wasn't in the picture.
That simply wasn't the case.
I think the best thing
would have been...
"This is my private time.
" | 'm protecting myself,
my children and my husband."
Somebody advised her very badly.
I found it, personally, quite odd
that Kate was the one
that issued a statement
taking responsibility
for editing the photograph,
when we know
that William took that photograph.
We know
that Kate hasn't been very well.
Why is Kate editing a photograph?
Why is it that William has to
stay quiet in his own suffering?
Were we to get a little more
from anyone in the royal family
about how they are
dealing with this,
it would quell the speculation,
but because we're getting nothing,
there is just a vacuum
that people are desperate to fill
with absolutely bonkers
conspiracy theories
and conjecture and rumours and...
Unfortunately, the Mother's Day
photo kept the spotlight
firmly on the Princess of Wales,
the polar opposite
of its intended purpose.
I think what people
were so desperate for
in this vacuum of information is,
quote unquote, "proof of life".
They want to see
the Princess of Wales as she is now.
Not necessarily
in a photoshopped picture.
They want to see her in real time.
Within a week, they got their wish.
"Oh, my gosh, it's them!"
We see the two of them walking out.
She's carrying some bags.
They look very happy, very relaxed.
On the 17th of March,
a member of the public
filmed Catherine and William
on a visit to a farm shop
in Windsor.
This is the perfect video of her.
Should put to bed
all of these rumours.
The problem is,
is that there's a section of society
that are too far gone
and will not believe
anything that they are told now.
It seemed the princess
could do nothing right
in the eyes of a sceptical public.
But on the 19th of March,
it was revealed
some people's scepticism
had crossed a line
into potential criminality.
I discovered that three people
at the London Clinic
allegedly tried to access
the Princess of Wales's
private medical records
after she had been discharged
from the London Clinic.
It was a huge issue
for the royal family
and allegations, potentially,
of blackmail.
What was the purpose
of these people
trying to access
her private medical records?
In response, the London Clinic said
if there was any breach,
all appropriate investigatory,
regulatory and disciplinary steps
will be taken.
I think the story
blew up around the world
because people were so reviled
that that could have happened
at her darkest hour,
her weakest moment.
I think that people thought
that this is a time
where everybody
really needs to back off
and treat the Princess of Wales
with the respect that she deserves.
This appears to have been
the final straw.
Backed into a corner
and under intense pressure,
the Princess of Wales
shared some tragic news.
We've got some major breaking news
to bring you now.
Catherine, the Princess of Wales,
has announced she has cancer.
It has been an incredibly
tough couple of months
for our entire family.
It has taken us time
to explain everything
to George, Charlotte and Louis
in a way that's appropriate
for them
and to reassure them
that I'm going to be OK.
Well, eventually,
after the many weeks
of the conspiracy theories
and the speculation,
the Princess of Wales did address
an international audience
in an unprecedented video message
in which she explained
why she had been out of
the public spotlight for so long.
She used this as a moment to really
appeal for privacy for her family.
She also used it
as a real message of hope
for anyone
that was going through cancer,
not to give up hope.
Catherine's announcement
put an end to the speculation
and cast the events
of the previous three months
in a new, more sombre light.
In the wake of
the Princess of Wales's
heartbreaking statement,
I think a lot of people saw this
as one of the turning points,
not only in their own behaviour,
but how we were behaving
as a society,
contemplating or discussing
somebody's private medical history,
when we had absolutely no business
to do that.
I think there's a lot of people
who need to take a long, hard look
at their conduct,
not only on social media,
whether it's celebrities
or people who've been
buying into conspiracy theories,
but some of the mainstream media
as well.
"Where's Kate?"
I think that hashtag
looks pretty pathetic now.
Yes, it's the royal family,
she's the Princess of Wales,
the most photographed,
famous woman on the planet.
But she's still a human
like the rest of us.
Despite all the gossip, rumour,
innuendo on social media,
I think the royal family
have been pretty honest.
Now we know that things
were happening in the background.
So there is the argument of,
"What more could they do?"
They're not slaves to the people
who are commenting on social media.
They're not responsible to be making
public statements every two weeks
on a member of
the royal family's health.
Who knows
what the likes of Kim Kardashian
will make of the news?
But I think, you know, everyone
that's posted on social media,
everyone that's fuel led
that conspiracy theory,
it might just be a moment to pause
for reflection.
Clearly, the pressure
that the princess must have felt,
and going through what
she knew she was going through,
must have been
incredibly difficult for her.
The princess's terrible news
drew to a close
one of the most difficult periods
the royal family has faced
in recent years.
But all the while
it was rumbling on,
old wounds were also reopening,
only adding to a turbulent 100 days.
There had been signs
that the relationship
between Harry and his father
had thawed a bit,
but certainly, the relationship
between Harry and William
was still rock bottom.
The first 100 days of 2024
had been a terrible time
for the royal family.
I think most people,
looking forward to 2024,
would have assumed that this was
going to be a year of consolidation,
a year where the King
was probably going to
get his feet under the table.
The rest of the royal family
would be supporting him
in his new duty as head of state.
Of course, that couldn't have been
further from the reality.
We saw the royal family
hit by crisis after crisis.
Have the tragedies and challenges
of the past few months
shone a harsh light
on Charles's vision
for what became known as
a slimmed-down monarchy?
It's been an idea of the King's
for many, many years.
Long before he came to the throne.
In 2012,
while still Prince of Wales,
Charles discussed plans
to shrink the size
of the working contingent
of the royal family.
It was rapidly clear
from when Charles took over
that he was gonna
follow through with this,
and he established
a core network of working royals.
There are various reasons for this.
Money was one of them.
Cost. People complained about
the sort of...
bloated size of the royal family,
assuming that they were all
on the public payroll,
and also this idea
that it looks slightly...
old-fashioned and antediluvian.
Charles's plan was mostly lauded.
But against the backdrop
of a tumultuous three months,
has his idea for a slimmed-down
monarchy exposed a serious issue?
One of his own doing?
When you have the only members
of the working royals under 45
as Kate and William,
and the next generation down
are still at primary school,
that's a real problem.
The monarchy has got itself in
a real hole over this whole business
of "slimming down".
There is a huge absence of people
to whom the monarchy can turn to.
What has happened in the...
in these last few weeks
does rather illustrate
that it may not be
a sustainable policy
for the long term.
Even before illnesses ruled
major royals out of action,
the public had been
seeing less of them.
Five years ago,
there was a large team of royals
covering over 3,500 engagements
a year.
Since then,
the number of public visits
has dropped by a third.
Will there, simply,
in the years ahead,
be enough royals to go round
to do what the royal family
have traditionally clone?
In my experience,
there just won't be.
Will the King have to readjust?
Will he have to bring others in?
Ancl if he does, who might they be?
Could the prince across the pond
be in line for a comeback,
four years after
sensationally quitting royal life?
Reports suggest it's a possibility.
He is fifth in line to the throne,
after William,
George, Charlotte and Louis.
But it's too problematic
to have Harry do that
because he's not a working royal.
He's still William's brother.
He's still Charles's son.
He may not be getting along
with any of them very well,
he may no longer be doing
royal engagements,
but he's still there.
Whatever people may think
about Harry,
he's not gonna go away.
Family fallouts are commonplace,
but none happened quite so publicly
as when Prince Harry
left the royal fold.
And this family feud means
a key member is now not available.
He did the documentary with Meghan.
They've clone the interview
with Oprah.
Harry wrote his book.
The Oprah interview, in particular,
was probably quite a necessary thing
for the public to hear.
I think we needed to understand
why they had left the royal family
and why they had moved to America.
I think they could have
left it there,
and it would have been
really powerful,
and that could have been that.
Another issue facing the family
in the last few months
is the ongoing tension between Harry
and his brother, William.
On the day of
the Diana Legacy Awards in London,
a week before
Catherine's cancer announcement,
rumours of a rift between
the brothers intensified again.
NEWSREADER: The distance between
Prince William and Prince Harry
could not be much more marked
than it has been tonight,
at a ceremony remembering
their mother, Princess Diana.
William was there in person
this evening.
Harry will only join by video link
later tonight,
mid-afternoon Californian time,
after William has left the building.
The Diana Legacy Awards
is really the only way
for Prince William and Prince Harry
to continue to remind the world
of the woman they knew.
She was their mom,
and to them, she was magic.
The charity set up
to reflect my mother's belief
that young people
can change the world.
Prince William gave a speech
much earlier on in the evening,
and then left
so that he wouldn't be present
when Prince Harry, down the line
from Montecito, in California,
gave his address to award winners.
Neither brother
even referenced the other one.
No-one forced them
to behave in that way,
but in behaving in that way,
they clearly have generated
a lot of public interest
and a lot of speculation
about their relationships.
We underestimate the impact
of losing a parent so young.
Because if it's not something
that you've personally experienced,
you don't understand
how much that changes
and shapes your worldview,
moving forward.
If they can't even come together
to celebrate
the legacy of their mother,
if they can't
put their own issues aside
for that one cause,
you know, then how bad are things
between them?
The day of the awards
also saw another long-departed royal
back in the spotlight...
As if William and Harry
contributing to this event
wasn't enough to focus on,
up pops a contribution
from California.
...Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
On a night when, you know,
we were all sort of thinking about
Princess Diana and her legacy,
it should be
on this particular moment
that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex,
should launch
her latest business idea.
After a four-year absence,
Meghan returned to Instagram
to announce
American Riviera Orchard -
her new lifestyle brand.
The name American Riviera Orchard
doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
We see some baking and a ball gown.
The timing of the launch
raised a few eyebrows
in some corners of the Palace
Launching an Instagram account
when you have not been
on social media for four years,
on the clay of the Diana award,
why are you trying to steal
some of that attention?
Which is what it feels like.
young men that are remembering
their deceased mother,
who is a global icon.
I think anybody in their right mind
would say,
"Let's just press pause.
Let's do it tomorrow."
As I understand it,
a British journalist
from The Daily Mail
found out about
her return to Instagram,
and they were gonna publish it
in the UK,
and she hit "go"
on the Instagram page
and launched her brand
before an English tabloid
could do it for her.
Meghan's new brand is said
to reflect everything she loves,
with aims of selling cutlery,
and food condiments
such as nut butter.
This is a business.
It's a capitalist endeavour.
It's something to make money.
It kind of seems to be projecting
this American suburban utopia.
What we're seeing
with Meghan Markle today
is Meghan being Meghan before Harry.
"Welcome to American Riviera
Orchard. Please buy my tea set!"
The criticism levied at Meghan
following the website launch
opened old wounds
from her time within the monarchy.
After her fairytale marriage
to Prince Harry in 2018...
...Meghan's royal duties
were marred by negative publicity
and alleged abuse and harassment
from some of the British media.
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex,
has talked about how she
thought about ending her own life
over her time in the royal family,
and the abuse and the treatment
that she has received.
She felt absolutely terrible
being in the royal family
and being subjected to that abuse.
And I think
now we're in a situation
where we don't want
the Princess of Wales to feel that
in any way, shape or form.
We want no-one to feel that way.
But the difference now is that
with the Princess of Wales,
we now have people calling for
kindness and calling for calm
and let her recuperate and recover.
With the monarchy
in a state of unease,
many have asked the question
of whether Harry and Meghan
could return
on a more permanent basis
to support their family.
It was Queen Elizabeth
who ultimately said
there's no half-in, half-out.
I did wonder whether Charles
might have changed tack
and might have had
a different spin on that.
Harry and Meghan's
self-imposed exile from the family
is a real shame because they really
could have clone with
the reinforcements
at a time like this.
Wouldn't it have been great
if Harry and Meghan were there,
being the shining lights
in the centre of the institution
right about now?
However, any sort of return
appears increasingly unlikely
after a High Court ruling
in February.
REPORTER: 'Harry took
the Home Office to court,
'claiming it had acted unlawfully
in downgrading his security
'after he'd left the royal family.
'Today, however, a High Court judge
was having none of it.'
Prince Harry will definitely
be bitterly disappointed
and a bit humiliated
about the court decision
to not give him royal protection
when he is here in the UK.
We know that when he stepped back
as a working royal
that protection was taken away.
People who go out
on public engagements
or who are working royals,
they will get public protection.
Harry is not in that category
and therefore
doesn't get public protection,
or rather has to pay for
his own protection.
Ancl one can see,
from the taxpayer's point of view,
that that's quite important.
If Meghan is coming over
to Christmas shop,
I wouldn't want to pay for
her security either.
If Meghan is coming over to support
the British royal family,
it's a no-brainer.
They're going to get
royal protection,
they're going to be protected
in the way that they deem necessary.
Because the country is so divided
about him and his wife,
and because so much hatred
has been beaten up
like war drums against them...
.. | don't think they are safe
in this country,
and I completely understand
that they want security.
Maybe the best thing would be
for them not to come here.
But the fallout with his own family
continues to rumble on
after reports suggested
Harry discovered the news
of Catherine's cancer diagnosis
at the same time
as the rest of the public.
Prince Harry and Meghan were told
along with the rest of the world
about Kate's cancer diagnosis.
The fact that Prince William
didn't want Prince Harry to know -
his own brother -
about something so personal
tells you an awful lot
about the fractiousness
within this family.
The hope will be
that Harry and William
will find some level
of reconciliation
long before it's William's time
to be King.
William's focus is on Kate
rather than healing any rift
with his brother,
and Kate's focus
is on getting herself better.
Prince Harry
isn't the only royal outsider
suggested to fill the void
left by the tragedies
of the last few months.
Another prince who's made headlines
of his own over the years
is back under the microscope.
But would welcoming Andrew
back into the fold
be a help or a hindrance?
We do have Prince Andrew
taking a lead role,
which is incredibly strange to see
given everything that has happened
to Prince Andrew
in the last few years.
Why is that man front and centre
in this memorial?
Following crises and illness,
the royal family has been
running out of recognisable figures
to lead the line.
It appeared that King Charles' plan
for a slimmed-down monarchy
had come to haunt him.
But some of the difficulties
facing the King
have been largely
out of his control.
We wouldn't be having
these discussions
were it not for the absence
of Charles and Catherine,
because they are so central
to everything.
Ancl take them away,
take William away -
and he's only been doing duties
part-time -
suddenly the monarchy
began to look threadbare.
He had lost his son, Harry.
He had lost, because of disgrace,
Prince Andrew.
In its hour of crisis,
the monarchy should be able
to turn to a senior figure
like Prince Andrew.
Instead, he remained
stripped of royal duties
following his friendship
with convicted sex offender
Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince Andrew's become the
laughing stock of the royal family.
The death of Epstein in jail
a couple of years ago
has not stopped
all of the allegations against him
and in particular
the allegations of Virginia Giuffre,
who, in America, sued Prince Andrew,
effectively, for sexual assault.
The case was settled privately
in 2022.
Following the settlement,
in which he did not expressly admit
any liability,
Prince Andrew said he regretted
his association with Jeffrey Epstein
and commended the bravery
of Virginia Giuffre.
He has always claimed his innocence.
But Prince Andrew's public image
was in tatters.
Andrew is seen as simply
too toxic a figure
to be allowed to resume royal work.
Andrew can't seem to shake off
the legacy of his past.
And as March continued,
King Charles was reminded
that his younger brother's decisions
will not simply be consigned
to the past.
REPORTER: 'The allegations
surroundingjeffrey Epstein
'include his friend Prince Andrew.'
Netflix released the trailer for
its latest glossy, big-budget drama
based on the British royal family.
'Your Royal Highness...'
Starring Gillian Anderson,
Rufus Sewell and Billie Piper,
Scoop is a dramatic retelling
about one of the most talked about
interviews in recent decades.
This interview, does it matter?
Yeah, it matters.
Scoop is the new,
eagerly awaited Netflix drama
based on the now infamous
Newsnight interview
with the Duke of York.
The interview, which, of course,
was the undoing of Prince Andrew.
The interview,
as most royal interviews do,
ended up spectacularly backfiring
on the Duke.
Within 24 hours,
the highly-anticipated trailer
had been viewed
hundreds of thousands of times.
Scoop is now streaming
in millions of homes worldwide.
And another three-part series
from Amazon Studios
about Prince Andrew
is also in production.
The royal family understand
that they are public figures.
They know there's going to be
interest in their personal lives.
But the fact that
we've seen in recent years,
this soap opera element
being played out of the crisis
that they're involved in,
it's been particularly hurtful for
senior members of the royal family
to watch their private lives
being played out so publicly.
It's deeply problematic,
um, in the same way
that The Crown was,
and the same way that The Crown
revisited very difficult times
for the royal family,
which keeps thrusting it back
into the public consciousness.
And, of course, this is exactly
what's going to happen
with Prince Andrew.
We're going to be reminded
of that disastrous interview
in which Prince Andrew famously said
that Jeffrey Epstein
was "rather unbecoming".
To which Emily Maitlis
brilliantly responded...
"Unbecoming"? He was a sex offender.
Yeah, I'm sorry, I'm being polite,
um, in the sense
that he was a sex offender.
He hasn't been convicted of a crime.
He denies the allegations.
But Jeffrey Epstein
has really a reputation
for being a disgusting man.
Ancl the Prince Andrew's story
doesn't just die with age,
because within the next 12 months,
there are two productions,
scripted productions,
coming up that are going to
remind the world
that Prince Andrew is a stain
on the royal family.
Second-son syndrome
for the royal family
has had haunting moments
down the years.
I do suspect the royal family
will have a more robust way
of handling heirs and spares
in the next generation.
Following the controversy in 2019,
Queen Elizabeth decided
that her second eldest son
would no longer work for the firm.
But today,
with so few senior members
to fly the royal flag,
could Prince Andrew
be welcomed back into the fold?
He was stripped of his royal duties.
He was stripped of
his military duties, his patronages.
He was essentially ostracised
from royal life,
but more recently,
he has been seen
back in the royal fold
and I think that's very confusing
for the public.
They're short of
recognisable figures.
If he's not going to be
cast into outer darkness,
he might as well be put to work.
Nothing has actually been proven
against him about his behaviour.
Ancl to a certain extent, you know,
innocent unless proven guilty,
I think, has to stand.
At the memorial service
in February for King Constantine -
Prince Andrew's second cousin -
the Duke of York
appeared front and centre.
The memorial of King Constantine
was a private affair.
when it comes to the monarchy,
there is a very thin line
between private and public,
and it was interesting
that we saw him at the memorial
quite prominently.
Ancl that, indeed,
sort of seemed to suggest
a kind of possible rehabilitation
of Andrew.
There is a distinction here.
He is still a part of
the royal family.
He is still therefore welcomed
and entitled to be
at private family events,
such as the memorial service.
He is still the King's brother,
he's still Prince William's uncle.
He hasn't been ostracised
from the family, as such,
but he has essentially
been booted out of public duties,
which is why you didn't see him,
for example,
at events like
the Commonwealth Day Service.
Sure enough, two weeks later,
Prince Andrew was absent from
the Commonwealth Day celebrations
at Westminster Abbey
in what was a formal working event
for the monarchy.
When it came to King Constantine's
memorial service,
this was a private family memorial.
The Commonwealth Day Service
was clearly not.
Charles is not going to allow
any association with Prince Andrew
to spoil any political impact
of the Commonwealth Day Service.
This is clear political messaging
from the House of Windsor.
With the royal family
stretched to their limits,
some feel that Prince Andrew
could have been relied upon
to steady the ship.
But his role within the family
continues to be met with
scrutiny and confusion.
At a time when his brother,
King Charles,
is bravely battling cancer.
Charles has been very clear...
...in the way he has come down
very strongly against Andrew.
Ancl that is very clear.
Given Charles
is being diagnosed with cancer
and is temporarily off centre stage,
by default Andrew might begin
to come into the limelight.
This would be, I think, premature,
and a mistake.
Whilst Prince Andrew
remains in the spotlight,
his much-loved former wife
Sarah Ferguson
also received terrible news.
The start of the year,
she too was diagnosed with cancer.
In amongst the chaos
of everything that's been going on
with the royal family,
we've had the Duchess of York
not only having cancer once,
but being diagnosed a second time
within six months.
But she's faced it
with typical resilience.
Like King Charles
and the Princess of Wales,
Sarah Ferguson has been open
about her treatment.
I think that really endears her
to the public because people see her
as a great survivor.
They see her as someone
who has gone through their troubles,
yet she's still out there
giving her best.
After 100 days of difficulties
and tragedies,
the whole of the royal family
is under pressure.
Can things return to normal...
or will they get worse?
I'd say this is a crisis in terms of
communication for the royal family.
It's a crisis in public perception,
and it's a crisis
for the future of the monarchy.
We've landed up in
this rudderless position
that we've got in terms of
the lack of leadership of the royals
and Charles ill,
and who's doing what,
and is there any leadership?
What do they all stand for?
If there's no leadership,
if there's no-one steering the ship,
what are they there for
and why are we giving them money?
And that's a real problem.
And what does the future hold
for King Charles
after suffering so many setbacks
early in his reign?
It has to be a big question.
You know, if we look 75 years ahead
to the turn of the century,
will there still be a monarchy?
I'm not sure.
The past three months have been
gruelling for the royal family.
How they cope
in the face of great tragedy
has been exposed to the public.
Examined and scrutinised
all over the world.
Cracks have appeared.
So how will they move forward
as a family and as a firm?
The last three months have been
very difficult for the royal family,
and I think overall the royal family
has handled it remarkably well.
But the reality is
they are vulnerable.
It's certainly been a storm.
It's certainly been unprecedented
and unsettling and destabilising.
Yes, while the monarchy
does look frail
and almost skeletal at the moment,
because of this whirlwind few months
that has literally
turned the institution on its head
in a way that no-one
could have predicted,
the monarchy bounces back.
The show will go on. It always does.
And right on cue,
the King was back to doing
what he does best on Easter Sunday,
meeting and greeting
crowds of well-wishers.
Charles also gave an announcement
for Maundy Thursday
three days earlier.
Though he did appear visibly frail
in his official photograph.
'It is my special prayer today
'that our Lord's example
of serving one another
'might continue to inspire us
'and to strengthen
all our communities.
'May God bless you all this Easter.'
A royal tour of Australia
has also been announced
for later in the year.
While the King might not be
returning to royal duties just yet,
the fact that
there are plans in place
for him to take on a major tour
of Australia is hugely significant.
That is hugely positive
for the King,
for the country and for
the rest of the royal family.
Charles's daughter-in-law, however,
will not be joining
any royal engagements
in the foreseeable future,
following an outpouring
of well-wishes
after her cancer announcement.
The Princess of Wales
is expected to rest, recuperate
and spend time with her family.
Physically and mentally,
she's been really,
really under the cosh.
Ancl it must be very, very difficult
to try and recover
and still be a mum
and still be a partner
when you are in the public gaze.
Ancl she does take her job
and her duty very, very seriously.
More than ever, the public wants
a young woman in that royal family
to cling onto and to hold onto
and to represent them.
There is a hope
that it will be Kate,
and I think now you have
a lot more people invested in Kate
than ever before, I certainly am.
There has been no information given
from Kensington Palace
as to when Catherine may return
to public duty.
I'm not sure a time frame
for the Princess of Wales to return
actually matters
because we've seen her make
this heartbreaking statement,
she said herself
she won't return to duties
until she's fully able.
Maybe it's time we take a step back
and allow them to exist as a family
and not only an institution.
Kate told the country,
the world, about her diagnosis.
There is now an expectation
on all of us to give them a break,
to get things back to normal.
When she fully recovers,
we'll be delighted to see her again.
A lot of people
will have their fingers crossed,
hoping it'll be sooner
rather than later.
The monarchy
has overcome adversity before.
If they're to do so again,
every one of the core family
will have a part to play
in the months and years ahead.
The women within the royal family
are ruling the roost.
You have Queen Camilla,
who is literally carrying
the royal family on her shoulders.
You have the Princess of Wales.
Her popularity has not waned.
People really, really
rooting for her.
Ancl then finally,
you've got Princess Anne,
the Princess Royal,
who is the hardest-working royal.
To have two members of the
royal family diagnosed with cancer
and going through treatment
is unprecedented.
It does, of course, stir up
huge questions for the future.
But the line of succession
is secure.
The House of Windsor is secure.
Ancl the hope, of course,
is that this treatment is successful
and the King
and the Princess of Wales
will be able to return to work
very soon.
The King will and does see
his illness as an inconvenience.
His main task, frankly,
is to ensure that the monarchy
is in a fit state
to be handed on to Prince William,
and that will be his modus operandi
going forward.
Despite facing heavy criticism
and working
as a threadbare institution,
King Charles and his family
have shown the public
a different side,
one that could have a huge impact
on their future.
These last three months
have been a bit unreal,
a bit uncontrollable and
uncomfortable for the royal family.
Something has happened
and we don't know
where that will lead.
It's an interesting point
in their history.
This is a watershed moment
for the royal family
and indeed the institution.
The era
of never complain, never explain
should be banished now.
People respect them more
for being more open,
and they think that
that is something to be applauded.
It's getting increasingly difficult
to be a monarch
and to be a person.
At the moment, we have a King who
clearly has prepared for the job,
who wants to do the job,
but who, as a man in his 70s,
is not going to be there forever.
His son appears to have a conflicted
relationship with his brother,
and reservations himself
about the extent to which
he wants to assume a public role.
It's a real tough,
high-wire act for them.
The thing is,
what happens next time?
Will the royal family retreat
and go back to their old familiar
no comment, no explanation routine?
Or will they demonstrably show
that they're going to carry on
being open about things?
Only time will tell.
'This act of worship
'reminds me of the pledge I made
'at the beginning
of the Coronation Service -
'not to be served, but to serve.
'That, I have always tried to do
'and continue to do
with my whole heart.'