Princes Harry and William Blast ‘Deceitful’ BBC Interview With Princess Diana That Led To Her Divorce And Death
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On Thursday, Prince William and Prince Harry blamed the BBC for Princess Diana’s death, claiming that a bombshell interview she gave in 1995, gained by a process of forgery and deception, had irreversibly ruined her life.
Following a BBC investigation that found journalist Martin Bashir used “deceitful behavior” to secure a historic interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, Princes William and Harry pushed for higher standards in the news media.
The brothers said Diana’s life was forever altered by the 1995 interview with then-BBC correspondent Martin Bashir in separate comments.
Bashir forged bank documents to dupe the princess into sitting with him for a bombshell interview in which she outlined her miserable marriage to Prince Charles, their extramarital affairs, and her mental health problems, according to an independent report into the 1995 interview.
In a video message, Prince William said the broadcaster “made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family which played on her fears and fueled paranoia.”
“The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others,” he said, adding that the deception used by interviewer Martin Bashir to obtain access to the princess for the one-on-one “substantially influenced what my mother said.”
William, Duke of Cambridge, expressed his “indescribable sadness” at learning that lies told to his mother led to her “fear, paranoia, and isolation” in the years leading up to her death.
“But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived,” he added.
Bashir “deceived” Diana’s brother Earl Spencer to win the bombshell interview, in which Diana famously opened up about adultery in her marriage and her problems with mental health, according to a formal inquiry commissioned by the British public broadcaster.
In a statement, Harry said his mother’s death was caused by the “ripple effect” of the British media’s “culture of exploitation and unethical practices,” adding that he is “deeply concerned” that the industry has not changed yet.
“Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed,” said Harry, who has previously said that he and wife Meghan withdrew from royal life last year in part due to Meghan’s treatment by the British media.
The journalist allegedly hired a graphic designer to falsify bank statements and checks to make it seem as if members of the Spencer household and the royal household were being paid to spy on Diana, according to the 127-page report.
Bashir behaved improperly and violated the publicly funded broadcaster’s editorial guidelines in order to obtain access to the princess, who famously told him in the November 1995 interview that “there were three of us in this marriage.” According to an independent study released Thursday after a months-long investigation.
After the investigation’s conclusions were made public on Thursday, the BBC’s new Director-General, Tim Davies, apologised and said the organisation accepted them “in full.”
The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, called the conclusions of former senior judge Lord John Dyson’s investigation “extremely concerning” in a video statement.
The royal, who is second-in-line to the throne after his father Prince Charles, described the interview as illegitimate and a “false narrative,” and said it should never be broadcast again.
“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, it let the public down too,” William said.
The inquiry further looked into the BBC’s own internal investigation, which was found to be “woefully ineffective” when allegations surfaced in 1996. It also claims that BBC officials engaged in a “cover up” including former director-general Tony Hall, who was the BBC’s news boss at the time.
Harry, Duke of Sussex, went a little further and blamed his mother’s death on the media. Many people believe that the paparazzi chasing her contributed to her death in a car accident in Paris.
“The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life,” 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. 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.”
Harry described Diana as “resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest.”
Many people wondered why Diana wanted to give such an intimate interview at the time.
Last Friday, Bashir resigned from the BBC, citing health concerns. Before stepping down, he was said to have seen the investigation’s findings.
In addition, Bashir released a statement on Thursday admitting to falsifying records and expressing “deeply regrets” but insisting that the fake bank statements “had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview.”
Bashir reported that “Evidence handed to the inquiry in her own handwriting (and published alongside the report today) unequivocally confirms this,”
On what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday, William and Harry are set to unveil a statue of the princess at Kensington Palace, where she lived for more than 15 years.
Bashir’s career was catapulted after a televised interview for the show Panorama in 1995 became a worldwide phenomenon.
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