Kate’s Christmas carols! Duchess sends out invites to Westminster Abbey service that will be broadcast on ITV after the Cambridges ‘dropped’ the BBC amid royal documentary row
The Duchess of Cambridge has shared details of the Christmas carol service she will host at Westminster Abbey next week to celebrate the ‘incredible work’ of pandemic heroes.
Kate, 39, today posted a photo of the invitations sent out to guests, including charity workers, teachers and volunteers, ahead of the event on Wednesday 8.
The service, which will include musical performances from mystery guests, has been developed with BBC Studios Events Productions but will be broadcast on ITV as part of a special programme next month.
Prince William and Kate reportedly dropped the BBC as the broadcaster for their Christmas special in the wake of the two-part series The Princes and the Press, which was criticised by the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for giving credibility to ‘overblown and unfounded claims’ about the Royal Family.
Christmas cheer: The Duchess of Cambridge will host a Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey next week to celebrate the ‘incredible work’ of pandemic heroes
An industry insider said last week: ‘It was all arranged to be on BBC1 but it was switched in the last few days because of the terrible row over the documentary.
‘And things are likely to get a lot worse between the Royal Family and the BBC before they get better as the second part of the documentary threatens to go further.’
The second part of the documentary, which aired last night, saw Meghan Markle’s lawyer issue a technical and bizarre denial the Duchess had ever bullied staff – before insisting ‘but she wouldn’t want to negate anyone’s personal experiences.’
The programme also said people connected to both the Cambridges and Sussexes briefed about the other.
Kensington Palace declined to comment.
Kate will no doubt be hoping to brush aside any rumblings over the documentary ahead of the carol service next week.
The order of service have not been shared but it was revealed today that the event will be a ‘blend traditional elements with a modern and inclusive feel to encompass people of all faiths and none’.
Sneak peek: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today shared a glimpse of the invitations sent out to guests, pictured, including charity workers, teachers and volunteers
Posting about the carol service on Instagram today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrote: ‘This Christmas we are celebrating the incredible work of individuals and organisations across the nation who go above and beyond to support their communities.
‘Next week, The Duchess will host a Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey, supported by The Royal Foundation, bringing many of those inspirational people together.
‘The service, which will be broadcast in December, will look back on the last eighteen months, to think not only of the unprecedented challenges that we have all faced as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to remember the positives: people and organisations pulling together in their communities, the small acts of kindness across different demographics and generations, and the unsung heroes who stepped up to help others.’
The event, supported by The Royal Foundation, will bring together inspirational individuals from across the UK who have gone above and beyond to care for and protect those in need during the pandemic.
William and Kate, pictured at the Royal Variety Performance, reportedly dropped the BBC for their Christmas special days after the Royal Family blasted the BBC for airing ‘overblown and unfounded claims’ in a documentary about the rift between William and Harry
It will also involve guests who may be more vulnerable or isolated, including people with limited social connections, the recently bereaved or those without their own homes.
The Christmas special marks a massive coup for ITV, which usually loses out on royal content to the BBC.
Speaking about the decision to drop the BBC for the Christmas concert, a TV industry source told the Sun: ‘It is a brand new format — the royals have never hosted a televised TV concert before. And to have the Duchess leading on it is a big deal.
‘Naturally most royal programming goes automatically to the BBC as the national broadcaster. Now it looks like they will work more with ITV in the future.’
The source said ITV was ‘surprised but delighted’ by the sudden change of plan, adding, ‘it will be a fantastic Christmas carol concert that will be TV gold for viewers at home.’