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08th Sep 2022

BBC slammed for ‘pre-emptive and mis-judged’ coverage of the Queen’s ‘concerning’ health

Steve Hopkins

Alastair Stewart wasn’t the only one commenting on Huw Edward’s tie

Alastair Stewart has called out the BBC for its coverage of the Queen’s “concerning” health, slamming the corporation’s coverage as “pre-emptive and misjudged”.

Stewart, who has presented for ITV News and is currently at GB News, took particular issue with Huw Edwards wearing a black tie and explained that it is “because of the BBC’s Sissons memory”.

The remark was in reference to Peter Sissons, the late BBC News reader who was heavily criticised for wearing a burgundy tie when announcing the death of the Queen Mother in 2002. ITV presenters had worn black ties as they shared the news, and critics felt Sissons should have done the same. Sissons wrote in his 2011 memoir that the criticism still hurt.

In response to a user who questioned whether it was to save time in the event of Her Majesty’s death, Stewart, an OBE who has won the Royal Television Society’s News Presenter of the Year award twice, replied: “We have all rehearsed it so many times. There is a built-in natural pause to make the appropriate changes.”

Viewers also speculated what Edwards’ tie suggested about the Queen’s health.

BBC One suspended all regular programming until 6pm in light of the news about the Queen.

Bargain Hunt was taken off air to inform viewers that doctors were “concerned” about Her Majesty’s health, following a statement from Buckingham Palace on Thursday afternoon that she was now under “medical supervision”.

BBC News presenter Joanna Gosling then appeared to break the news, saying: “Welcome to viewers on BBC One. We have had news from Buckingham Palace that the Queen is under medical supervision at Balmoral.

“Doctors have become concerned for her health and, she is now under the supervision of doctors.”

The BBC One afternoon schedule was then moved to BBC Two.

Minutes before the palace’s statement, the new Prime Minister Liz Truss was handed a note in the Commons informing her of the development as she was revealing her plans to cap energy bills for the next two years.

Truss said: “The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime” adding “my thoughts – and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom – are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time”.

On Wednesday, the Queen was forced to postpone a Privy Council meeting at the last minute on doctors’ advice.

Following a busy day on Tuesday, during which she greeted both Boris Johnson and Truss at Balmoral, as well as undertaking other light duties, the 96-year-old was told to rest.

The palace said that after “a full day” on Tuesday the monarch  had accepted the medics’ advice.

The Queen had been due to hold the Privy Council virtually on Wednesday evening, during which Truss would have taken her oath as First Lord of the Treasury and her new cabinet ministers would have been sworn into their roles.

In a statement a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “After a full day yesterday, Her Majesty has this afternoon accepted doctors’ advice to rest.

“This means that the Privy Council meeting that had been due to take place this evening will be rearranged.”

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