The inquiry into the BBC’s sensational interview with Princess Diana in 1995 has found out that the BBC journalist used deceit to secure an interview with the former Princess in which she disclosed intimate details of her failed marriage to Prince Charles.
According to the reports, the British Broadcaster had set up an investigation, headed by former senior Court judge John Dyson, in November last year to look into the allegations from Diana’s brother Charles Spencer. Spencer had accused BBC journalist Martin Bashir of using forged documents and “other deceit” to trick him into introducing Diana to the journalist.
The inquiry by Judge Dyson has found that Bashir, then a small-time reporter, had shown Spencer fake bank statements claiming that Diana was under surveillance by the security services and that two of her staffers are being paid to provide information about her.
“Mr Bashir deceived and induced him to arrange a meeting with Princess Diana,” the report said. Mr Bashir acted inappropriately, and in serious breach of the 1993 edition of the Producers’ Guidelines on straight dealing, the inquiry report said.
Charles Spencer said the BBC reporter linked these events to Diana’s death. “She didn’t know who to trust and in the end when she died, two years later, she was without any form of real protection,” Spencer said.
Diana had revealed about her marriage troubles in the interview
During the “Panorama” interview, telecast in 1995 and watched by more than 20 million viewers in Britain, Diana had admitted about an affair and also revealed personal details about her marriage to the heir to the throne, Prince Charles.
It was the first time Diana had commented publicly about her doomed marriage. Diana’s remark, “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded” – a reference to Charles rekindling his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, now his second wife, had become a talking point across the world.
Diana and Charles formally divorced in 1996. She died at the age of 36 in a high-speed car crash while being chased by the media in Paris, a year after the sensational BBC interview.
Meanwhile, the BBC made a “full and unconditional apology” to the British Royal family after an independent report found BBC journalist lied to Diana to secure an interview.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie admitted that the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect.
“The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time and been more transparent about what it knew. While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC offers that today,” he said.
Royal Family reacts to Inquiry report
The British Royal Family has reacted to the latest findings of the inquiry committee. Princess Diana’s son, Prince William, said the BBC’s failures surrounding Martin Bashir’s 1995 Panorama interview with his mother “contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation”. He added that the episode should never be broadcast again.
He said Princess Diana was “failed” not just by the “rogue reporter”, but by BBC bosses “who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions”. Prince William said the interview was a “major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others”.
Prince Harry said the ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took his mother’s life.