On Thursday, an inquiry committee set up by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to look into the allegations made by Charles Spencer, brother of former British Princess Diana, ruled that BBC journalist Martin Bashir had used deceit to secure an interview with the former Princess in 1995.
The inquiry committee, led by Judge Dyson, found that BBC journalist Bashir had lied to Charles Spencer to secure an interview with Diana. The BBC journalist had shown Charles 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.
In the sensational interview, the former Princess had disclosed intimate details of her failed marriage to Prince Charles. Charles Spencer said the BBC reporter linked these events to Diana’s death.
Following the indictment by Judge Dyson, the BBC has made a “full and unconditional apology” to the British Royal family. Meanwhile, several social media users have accused BBC journalist Bashir of “peddling a series of ‘preposterous lies’ to secure his interview” and alleged that the media corporation has tried to sweep it under the carpet. They trended #DefundTheBBC on social media, asking the British government to defund it.
Charles Spencer recorded falsehoods peddled by BBC journalist to obtain interview
Interestingly, the deceit and lies allegedly propagated by Martin Bashir to get access to Princess Diana scoop were all recorded by her brother. Charles Spencer, brother of Princess Diana, had maintained all the notes of the meeting held on September 19, 1995, when he introduced the BBC journalist to his sister at her Knightsbridge flat, reports Daily Mail.
The records of Charles Spencer showed that Bashir allegedly claimed that Diana’s private letters were being opened and lied to her, saying that she was under surveillance. He had also deceived Diana, saying her phones were tapped. The notes recorded by Spencer were submitted before Lord Dyson for his inquiry into the case. It includes falsehoods about the royals and senior courtiers that he is said to have used to help land the interview.
Here are the list of lies peddled by Martin Bashir to Princess Diana.
1: MI6 was orchestrating things around Diana
To convince Diana, Bashir had lied to the Princess that three MI6 agents had told him that Prince Charles’s private secretary Richard Aylard was ‘orchestrating’ things surrounding Diana. This involved Ken Wharfe, Diana’s former bodyguard, described as ‘scum’.
The journalist had shown a few bank statements allegedly showing her closest aides were selling her secrets. Reportedly, Diana’s paranoia about her staff and friends of betraying her, was effectively misused by Bashir in the meeting.
Here is an image of the dossier prepared by Charles Spencer during the meeting between Martin Bashir and Princess Diana held on September 19, 1995.
2: Charles’ secretary ‘paid by Jonathan Dimbleby’
Bashir informed Diana that Charles’s secretary Richard Aylard is being paid by the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby. A decision to reinvent the Prince was planned by two aides of Charles two years earlier to attack both Diana and the Spencer family, Bashir had claimed as per the dossier.
4: Spencers’ reputation ‘would be destroyed’
In the meeting, Bashir fear-mongered by saying reputation of Spencers’ will be destroyed. In another remark recorded by Charles Spencer, Bashir claimed Prince Charles wanted Spencer’s then wife, Victoria, dead. Meanwhile, Diana would be forced to move to America, possibly with her brother.
5: Will Carling affair claim
Bashir had also related to the stories during 1995 of the close friendship between Diana and the married England rugby captain Will Carling. Spencer noted Bashir’s assertion that the newspaper stories had been ‘fed’ by Carling’s wife Julia.
9: Diana’s car ‘bugged’
The note also says Martin Bashir had claimed that Diana’s cars and phone lines were bugged.
17: Camilla ‘depressed’, Charles has affair with nanny
Bashir had also said to Diana that Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles’s girlfriend at the time, was depressed.
Later in the interview, Diana had made her feelings clear on Camilla, famously saying, “There are three of us in this marriage”. It is speculated that Bashir mentioned Camilla in his meeting to prompt Diana to speak out.
The note further contains names a person- ‘Tiggy’, a reference to Tiggy Legge-Bourke, William and Harry’s nanny. It mentions that Prince Charles was accused of having an affair with her.
17b: Philip’s ‘v unpleasant correspondence’
Charles Spencer’s records also show that Bashir claimed that Diana had received ‘v unpleasant correspondence’ from Philip and suggested he was annoyed at her ‘hero status’.
It also references Edwina Mountbatten, the wife of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was known to have had affairs.
19: Fergie’s business deals in the US
This note refers to her numerous trips of Sarah Ferguson to the US to forge a business career. Sarah Ferguson is the wife of Prince Andrew, who divorced in 1996.
The note adds that Andrew still ‘looked after her’ following their divorce by supporting her financially.
20: ‘Queen eats for comfort’
The note also suggested the Queen was unwell, stating “Queen ill: heart” and adds she “eats for comfort”.
The BBC interview with Diana
The much-hyped BBC documentary series Panorama with Princess Diana was finally telecast on 20 November 1995. The 54-minute programme saw Diana, Princess of Wales, interviewed by Martin Bashir about her relationship with her husband, Charles. The programme was watched by nearly 23 million viewers in the UK.
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.
Later in 1996, Diana and Charles formally divorced. 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 BBC interview.