Punishment for BBC? Kate’s Christmas carol concert to be shown on ITV

Prince William is said to be fiercely protective of his staff and punishing the BBC 'is the sort of thing he would do', ITV News Royals Editor Chris Ship says he has been told

ITV is in negotiations to host a carol concert involving Prince William and Kate, to be broadcast in the days before Christmas.

The programme – a new format – will be recorded at Westminster Abbey in early December but sources at ITV say they were only made aware of the offer late last week.

It comes two days after a documentary on the BBC examining the relationship between the media and Princes William and Harry

A rare joint statement on Monday from all three royal households – Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace – criticised the BBC for giving “credibility” to “overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources”. 

In an interesting twist, the Christmas carol programme, in which the Duchess of Cambridge will play a key role, is being made for ITV by BBC Studios – a production arm of the corporation, although that is not unusual in broadcasting.

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Royal aides are not denying the programme is being aired on ITV but would not be drawn on whether that decision was connected to Monday’s BBC documentary, The Princes and the Press.

A second episode of the documentary will air next Monday and the central allegation – denied by the palaces – is that the different households can, and did, brief against one another. 

An ITV source said of the late commission: “It was unusual for it to come to us this late.”

News of the carol concert being aired on ITV was first revealed by The Sun on Thursday’s front page.

The newspaper said Kate will take a leading role – and also suggested the Cambridges' children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, might attend.

That has not been confirmed by Kensington Palace.

The show is in addition to ITV’s usual Carols at Christmas offering, which the broadcaster is still going ahead with that week.

However, contracts are still being negotiated which is why ITV has yet to formally announce the William and Kate carol concert in its festive schedule.

It’s likely to be aired on 23 or 24 December.

It is not unusual for BBC Studios to make programmes for other broadcasters – they made the Inside the Duchy of Cornwall documentary for ITV in 2019.