Independent request found that the BBC “did not meet its high standards of integrity and transparency” and reporter Martin Bashir acted “deceptively” to ensure his a 1995 explosive interview with Princess Diana.
known Panorama interview it was the first time a member of the royal family had spoken honestly about his life very negatively – and Diana was holding back.
She said the royal life had led her to bulimia and self-harm and that no one from the royal family had helped her, instead dismissing her behavior and branding her “unstable”. She admitted to having an affair with her riding instructor James Hewitt. She recounted her longtime affair with her husband Prince Charles with Camilla Parker-Bowles, famously saying, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a little close.”
She also questioned Charles’ ability to become king and doubted she would ever become queen of the country, saying she would instead “like to be queen of people’s hearts.”
The rainfall of the interview, which was watched by more than 20 million people, was seismic. This secured Diana’s place in the eyes of the world as an offended victim of an insensitive monarchy and torpedoed public opinion of the royal family, in particular Charles. And shortly after the broadcast, the Queen ordered Charles and Diana, who had been separated for more than two years, to formally file for divorce.
But further November 2, 2020, a few weeks before the 25th anniversary of the interview, the Daily Mail published a letter from Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, accusing the BBC of “pure dishonesty” and unethical behind-the-scenes maneuvers to secure the interview.
Following his public statements, the BBC launched an independent investigation into the circumstances of the interview.
According to this request, the results of which were published on Thursday, Bashir “tricked” Count Spencer with false information to get an idea of his royal sister, which he used to force her to agree to an interview. Then, when this information first appeared, the BBC covered up the investigation as well [Bashir] provided the interview and the correctness of the methods he used. “
Seeking to win the trust of Count Spencer, Bashir “commissioned” the involuntary graphic artist of the BBC to create bank documents, which apparently show that his former employee was paid by a newspaper group. The report also says that Bashir has created additional bank statements that appear to show that Diana’s two current senior aides were paid by the same newspaper group (meaning that the payments were made in exchange for selling private information to the tabloids). After a meeting where Bashir showed Count Spencer these documents, he introduced the reporter to his royal sister.
“By gaining access to Princess Diana in this way, Mr Bashir was able to persuade her to agree to give an interview,” wrote Lord Dyson, a former judge who conducted the investigation.
Shortly after the interview first aired, the graphic designer, who was making the forged documents, turned to senior BBC executives with concerns about how they might have been used. The story of the guardian published April 8, 1996 – the day after Mail on Sunday announced the existence of forged documents and accused the BBC of conducting a “secret, cunning and deceptive exercise” to secure an interview.
At the time, the BBC was conducting an internal investigation that ultimately allowed Bashir to clear and Panorama, finding that the documents were “in no way” used to get the princess to agree to an interview.
But in his report Lord Dyson described the BBC’s own request as “pathetically ineffective”. According to him, Bashir repeatedly lied to his superiors about the circumstances under which he was interviewed, and, among other things, the BBC did not interview Count Spencer, but instead “accepted the opinion that Mr. Bashir gave them as true. “
“I am pleased that the BBC has exposed in its press magazines such facts as it has been able to find out about how Bashir provided the interview,” Lord Dyson said.
The interview itself was conducted in secret; the Palace press team did not know about it until after its recording and only a few people of the BBC became aware of its existence before Panorama Ether ether has been set. ( BBC chair at the time, Marmaduke Hasi was reportedly “extremely unhappy” that network managers had not informed him of the program in advance.)
Interview time was also significant. In her biography Elizabeth Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, historian Sally Bedel Smith writes that Diana “intentionally” waited for Prince Charles ’birthday on November 14 to inform the Palace that she was to appear on Panorama – and the interview itself aired on November 20, the 48th wedding anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip.
Despite the “deceptive” behind-the-scenes maneuvers, Lord Dyson concluded that by the time she was first introduced to Bashir, Diana was “interested in the idea of a television interview” and “probably would have agreed to an interview with an experienced and authoritative a reporter whom she trusted even without Mr. Bashir’s intervention. “
“Whatever concerns she had later, Princess Diana was satisfied with the interview at the time,” Lord Dyson said.
У statement, Bashir, who resigned as editor of the BBC religion last week, apologized for forging the documents, but insisted that they “do not affect Princess Diana’s personal choice to participate in the interview.” He also handed Diana a handwritten note stating that he had not shown her “any documents and had not given[n] to me any information of which I was not previously aware. “
The current chairman of the BBC, Richard Sharp, said the corporation “unconditionally accepted” the findings of the report, which was also expressed by current CEO Tim Davy.
“Although the report says that Diana, the Princess of Wales, was interested in the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process of providing an interview was far from what viewers have a right to expect,” Davy said. “Although today’s BBC has much better processes and procedures, the ones that existed at the time were supposed to prevent thus providing an interview.”
“While the BBC cannot turn the clock back a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC is proposing this today. “
The BBC reports that the corporation has sent personal letters of apology to Diana’s son, Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as the Earl of Spencer and Prince Charles.
On Thursday, Count Spencer said he believed his sister could still be alive if she did not agree to an interview with Bashir, saying the message tactics led Diana to believe she could not trust those around her.
According to him, Bashir “very well intensified people’s anxiety” and gave the impression that “will save you in a difficult and dangerous world.”
“She didn’t know who to trust, and in the end, when she died two years later, she had no real protection.”
Harry and William made statements about the explosion in the media in response to the findings of the investigation Thursday.