The Countess of Wessex has been removed from BBC’s senior royals death list, meaning regular programming will not be halted when she passes away.
The broadcaster received thousands of complaints last month when it cut back on its regular schedule in order to show wall-to-wall coverage of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away at the age of 99.
And now, former head of BBC Television News Roger Mosey has revealed Sophie Wessex – who is the wife of Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex – has been removed from a list of senior royals who would be given the same treatment in the event of her death.
Roger also branded the decision to halt programming for Prince Philip’s death as “wrong”.
Writing in the Royal Television Society magazine, he said: "I was in BBC News 20 years ago when the Countess of Wessex was taken ill, and we realised that she was in a category of senior royals that would have meant, if the worst had happened, that all the networks would be merged together for a major obituary. We guessed that it might not be quite what audiences expected for this former employee of Capital Radio, however estimable. The broadcasters long ago dispensed with the idea that a royal death would be announced by the tolling of a bell for a full hour."
And he defended the new approach by saying: "It is completely right that the style and tone of the broadcasters should change."
He also revealed that even BBC insiders felt the level of coverage given to Philip – who was the husband of Queen Elizabeth – was too much.
He said: "Viewers who tuned in at 1pm for the early reporting were bemused to see the same items going round and round on every channel for the rest of the day and into the night."
However, he sought to reassure royalists that there will still be round the clock coverage when the 95-year-old monarch dies.
He said: "It will also be different in that news will break: a new king will be proclaimed in all the nations of the UK and in countries around the world; ambassadors will have audiences at the Palace; new coins and banknotes will be prepared. But this is precisely where the journalism will be needed- to assess the constitutional significance and the level of public support – alongside the retrospectives and the respect."