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September 20, 2014

'Chasing the Royals: The Media & the Monarchy' Digs Deep Into Royal Affairs

by Chris Jancelewicz, posted Mar 30th 2011 4:30PM
It's been 13 years since Princess Diana died in that Parisian tunnel, but in some respects it seems like nothing has changed. The paparazzi, especially in the United Kingdom, still feverishly pursue the royal family, inundating them during lavish balls or catching them out drinking at the pub. 'Chasing the Royals: The Media & the Monarchy,' a documentary by Gemini Award–winning Montreal filmmaker John Curtin, peels back the jeweled curtain of the British monarchy and chronicles the tumultuous relationship between journalists and royals.

"The monarchy and the media are like an unhappily married couple who are constantly feuding but can't afford to divorce," says Curtin. "For better or for worse, they're together forever."

'Chasing the Royals' highlights some of the particularly innovative methods the press uses to access royal information -- things the royals would obviously like to keep under wraps. Journalists have been known to sneak into the Windsor's palaces, hack voicemail and even trap them in undercover sting operations, as was done to the unfortunate Fergie in 2010. In most cases, getting a royal scoop is so huge that paparazzi can't pass up any opportunity.

For this exact reason, the Queen and Buckingham Palace try to arrange for stage-managed press conferences and interviews. The royals prefer to carefully manufacture any information that gets released to the public. Highly resentful of the press in their lives, Princes William and Harry do their best to stay out of the spotlight, but cameras are still omnipresent wherever they go. Royal-to-be Kate Middleton isn't even spared; when she and William were newly dating, paparazzi frequently camped out outside her London flat (until she moved).

Princess Diana Chased by Paparazzi


To chronicle this weird and oftentimes unsettling relationship between the royals and the press, filmmaker Curtin heads to Calgary to get the lowdown on the media's lurid reporting of an evening encounter between Prince Harry and bartender Cherie Cymbalisty.

He also travels to the U.K. to speak with the journalists and paparazzi on the front lines. What is their motivation? Do they have any scruples? How can they live with themselves? 'Chasing the Royals' shines a light on the oft-unglamorous world of royal journalism, and why, as long as there's a royal family, there will be press hounding them.


'Chasing the Royals' airs on CBC on Thursday, March 31, at 9PM on Doc Zone. It repeats on CBC News Network on Friday, April 1 at 10PM ET.

'Chasing the Royals' is the second half of a back-to-back double bill about the British monarchy CBC TV has scheduled the evening of March 31, and will be preceded by another new documentary, 'Marketing the Monarchy,' at 8PM.

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