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Princes William, Harry attack BBC over Bashir’s Diana interview


Princes William, Harry attack BBC over Bashir’s Diana interview


The Duke of Cambridge has slammed the BBC for failing in the Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, which he claims fueled her “fear, paranoia, and isolation” after a “rogue reporter” used deceptive tactics to convince her to sit for the interview, which rocked the royal family and Britain to its core.

William, 38, said the BBC’s acceptance of the report’s conclusions was “welcome” but he was also “extremely concerned.”


He said that the report revealed that “BBC employees” “lied and used fake documents”; made “lurid and false claims” about the royal family that played on his mother’s suspicions and “fueled paranoia”; exhibited “woeful incompetence” while reviewing allegations about the program; and “covered up” what they learned from their internal investigation.


“It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said,” William said in the statement. “The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”



The duke’s remarks come after a months-long inquiry into Bashir and the BBC’s actions by Lord John Dyson, a retired judge. Dyson’s conclusions, summarized in a 127-page paper, found that the network “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.”






The Duke of Sussex, who has stated that he and his partner, Duchess Meghan, left their royal positions last year due to racism in the British media and intrusive tabloid behaviour, has also stated that he is highly worried about the activities outlined in the BBC report,

In a statement sent to HuffPost, he said.



“To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it. That is the first step towards justice and truth,” he said. “Yet what deeply concerns me is that practices like these — and even worse — are still widespread today. Then, and now, it’s bigger than one outlet, one network, or one publication.”


He added that, “Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed.




“By protecting her legacy, we protect everyone, and uphold the dignity with which she lived her life. Let’s remember who she was and what she stood for.”


In November, the BBC announced the appointment of a former senior judge to head an inquiry after Diana’s brother, Charles, Earl Spencer, raised fresh allegations that Bashir used fake information and other deceptive methods to convince Diana to consent to the interview.


Spencer said Bashir gave him false bank documents related to his sister’s former private secretary and another former member of the royal household in order to obtain access to the princess.


The interview, in which Diana famously said, “there were three of us in this marriage” referring to husband Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, now his second wife, was seen by millions and sent shockwaves across the country and the monarchy.


In early 1996, the BBC conducted an independent investigation that cleared Bashir, “Panorama” and BBC News of all misconduct. The latest report found that the previous investigation was “woefully ineffective.”


The BBC’s chairman, Richard Sharp, said that the company acknowledges the conclusions of the inquiry, noting that “there were unacceptable failures.”


In a tweet, John Birt, the BBC’s director-general at the time of the interview, apologised to Charles Spencer.


“We now know that the BBC harbored a rogue reporter on ‘Panorama’ who fabricated an elaborate, detailed but wholly false account of his dealings with Earl Spencer and Princess Diana,” Birt said. “This is a shocking blot on the BBC’s enduring commitment to honest journalism; and it is a matter of the greatest regret that it has taken 25 years for the full truth to emerge.”


The BBC has apologized in writing to members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, Prince Charles, William, Harry, and Earl Spencer, for the circumstances around the interview.




Following the interview with Mr Bashir, Princess Diana’s former private secretary, Commander Patrick Jephson, said she had been “cast adrift” from the “royal support structure that had guided and safeguarded her for so many years.”




In an interview with the BBC’s new Panorama show, which aired on Thursday night, he said that this had “inevitably made her vulnerable to people who were unable properly to look after her” prior to her death in a car accident in Paris in 1997.


The inquiry looked into whether Bashir’s conduct affected Diana’s decision to give the interview. It also investigated how well the BBC was aware of the “mocked-up bank statements” that Charles Spencer said Bashir made.




According to the BBC’s article on the inquiry, Bashir, 58, who resigned from the BBC last week due to “ongoing health issues,” apologised in a statement for faking the documents but said he was “immensely proud” of the interview.


“The bank statements had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview,” Bashir said in a statement. “Evidence handed to the inquiry in her own handwriting (and published alongside the report today) unequivocally confirms this, and other compelling evidence presented to (the investigators) reinforces it.”



William came to the conclusion, “This settled narrative now needs to be addressed by the BBC and anyone else who has written or intends to write about these events. In an era of fake news, public service broadcasting and a free press have never been more important. These failings, identified by investigative journalists, not only let my mother down, and my family down; they let the public down too.”


Diana was notoriously candid in her November 1995 interview with Bashir. She spoke candidly of her battle with bulimia, the dissolution of her marriage to Prince Charles, the stresses of marrying a future king, and raising two young sons. She died less than two years later, at the age of 36.

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