Nicholas Witchell:

Royal Correspondent may seem like one of the cushiest jobs at the BBC. After all, you get to follow the Royal Family around the world, enjoy privileged access to Britain’s most treasured institution and spend most of your time covering births and weddings. How idyllic! You would also think that as royal correspondent you’d avoid much of the flack other journalists have to endure. Perhaps not. Nicholas Witchell, the current holder of the BBC position, has done much to tarnish his reputation with the Royals in the last twenty years.

Witchell – a law graduate from Leeds University – has had a distinguished and often controversial media career. He is noted for being the first to report on a number of high profile news items including the Lockerbie bombing and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In 1988 Witchell was co-presenting the six o’clock news alongside Sue Lawley when a group of militant lesbians invaded the stage in protest of ‘section 28’ – which aimed to prevent councils promoting homosexuality. The job of restraining the women fell to Witchell which produced this comical headline;

After becoming a royal and diplomatic correspondent in 1998, Witchell exasperated the royal family by highlighting her ‘copious consumption of whisky’ and her disreputable love life.

Prince Charles’ made his feeling towards Witchell clear on a skiing trip in Switzerland. After asking Charles’ two sons how they felt about their fathers’ upcoming marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles, Charles whispered under his breath “bloody people. I can’t bear that man. I mean, he’s so awful, he really is”

A smaller scale gaffe came when Witchell reported on Prince Harry’s explorations of drugs. He announced the prince had been experimenting with Cocaine instead of cannabis. This wouldn’t have helped Harry’s image.

Witchell is ‘bemused’ as to why Charles dislikes him. But the Royals take their reputation very seriously and clearly don’t think Witchell respects them enough. Things are unlikely to get better for Witchell when Charles’ becomes king.