THE BBC has been criticised for treating the royal family as “more important than every other person” after appearing to prioritise their medical updates over major political stories.

This week the broadcaster sent out two breaking news alerts in as many hours to update the nation the King was having to be treated for a benign enlarged prostate, while the Princess of Wales was to stay in hospital for two weeks after successful, planned abdominal surgery.

A day later, the BBC – along with Sky News - sent out another push notification after Prince William visited his wife in hospital, a story which was top of the BBC News website on Thursday afternoon.

The news stories have seemingly been regarded as more pressing than air strikes between Iran and Pakistan and the UK Government’s Rwanda bill, which was passed on Wednesday evening and will aim to deter asylum seekers crossing the Channel by sending them to East Africa for processing.  

READ MORE: YouGov: Second poll finds support for royal family below 50 per cent

Tristan Gray, convener of Scottish anti-monarchy group Our Republic, accused the BBC of reinforcing the “corrosive” effect of the royals by ensuring their lives led the news agenda.

“Potentially this is news because they are public servants with ceremonial duties,” he told the Holyrood Weekly podcast this week.

“But if you look at the next series of stories, you’ve got breaking stories on the Rwanda policy, you’ve got military strikes between Pakistan and Iran in an area which has been headline news for months because of just how frightening the situation is.

“How on earth is ‘person who does ceremonial duties is on bed rest for two weeks’ ahead of these stories?

The National:

“I have been talking about the corrosive effect of this family and it is reinforced by the fact the public broadcaster for the UK treats them as more important than any other person for no good reason.”

The Princess of Wales is set to undergo several months of recuperation after her hospital stay which will mean she will miss official duties until at least Easter, but it was stressed the surgery was planned and had gone well.

READ MORE: BBC Scotland boss questioned by MSPs on low viewing figures

The King, meanwhile, will have engagements postponed while he undergoes a “corrective procedure” next week.

The criticism of the BBC’s approach to these stories comes after it was blasted in November for the creation of a new royal editor role while making cuts to Newsnight.

The corporation announced that Newsnight would get rid of its dedicated team of reporters while reducing the programme by 10 minutes to become a half-hour show.

But buried in the detail of the announcement – which came as part of a £500 million cuts package for BBC News – it was revealed the corporation would also be creating a new role of "royal editor”.

Gray said he struggled to understand the justification for having so royal correspondents across the media.

He said: “Wouldn’t it be great if royal correspondents actually wrote lots of material on things about the monarchy that actually impact people?

“You never see a royal correspondent being the person who authored an article on the latest revelations on Jeffery Epstein and the King’s brother [Prince Andrew].

“All they do is release royal PR statements.

“It makes no sense to me that this is a real job that people have in every single newspaper in the UK when we are massively lacking in important investigative journalism.

“We are seeing hundreds of journalists laid off all the time. We’re seeing private equity firms snap up newspapers and then strip them for parts and lay off their staff to replace them with AI headlines and content, and yet we’re getting extra people hired for celebrity gossip for the royals.

“It shows such an absurd warping of priorities.”