BBC makes apology to William and Harry's ex-nanny and will pay damages

‘We let Diana and you down’: BBC boss issues grovelling apology to William, Harry and Charles and vows to never show Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview again as it agrees to pay ex-royal nanny substantial damages over lies used to secure show

  • She appeared at the High Court today for a public apology from the broadcaster
  • Row over ‘fabricated’ allegations she had affair with Charles while working as PA
  • She said today she was ‘scarred by the deceitful way [the interview] was made 

The boss of the BBC today issued a grovelling apology to the Royal Family and vowed to never again show Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Diana, as it agreed to pay their former nanny substantial damages over lies used by the rogue reporter.

Alexandra Pettifer, better known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, appeared at the High Court in London for a public apology from the broadcaster over ‘fabricated’ allegations she had had an affair with the Prince of Wales while working as Charles’ personal assistant in 1995.

Mr Bashir is also said to have tricked Diana into believing the nanny had become pregnant by Charles by showing her a faked abortion ‘receipt’.

Miss Legge-Bourke’s solicitor Louise Prince told the court today that the allegations caused ‘serious personal consequences for all concerned’.

Speaking today after successfully settling her defamation claim, the former nanny said: ‘I am disappointed that it needed legal action for the BBC to recognise the serious harm I have been subjected to.

‘Sadly, I am one of many people whose lives have been scarred by the deceitful way in which the BBC Panorama was made and the BBC’s subsequent failure to properly investigate the making of the programme.

‘The distress caused to the royal family is a source of great upset to me.

‘I know first-hand how much they were affected at the time, and how the programme and the false narrative it created have haunted the family in the years since.

‘Especially because, still today, so much about the making of the programme is yet to be adequately explained.’

Alexandra Pettifer, better known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, a former nanny to the Duke of Cambridge, outside the High Court, central London, after the BBC agreed to pay her substantial damages over ‘false and malicious’ allegations about her used to obtain Martin Bashir’s 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales

The damages are the result of false claims made by the journalist, used as part of his attempts to secure his 1995 interview with Princess Diana

The ex-nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry (pictured in 2005) has received substantial damages from the BBC for being smeared by former rogue reporter Martin Bashir

The BBC’s apology to former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke in full

‘Following publication of the Dyson Report last year we have been working with those who suffered as a result of the deceitful tactics used by the BBC in pursuit of its interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for the Panorama programme in 1995, including the matters that were mentioned in court today in respect of Miss Tiggy Legge-Bourke, now Mrs Alexandra Pettifer.

‘The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise publicly to her, to the Prince of Wales, and to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives.

‘It is a matter of great regret that the BBC did not get to the facts in the immediate aftermath of the programme when there were warning signs that the interview might have been obtained improperly. Instead, as the Duke of Cambridge himself put it, the BBC failed to ask the tough questions.

‘Had we done our job properly Princess Diana would have known the truth during her lifetime. We let her, the royal family and our audiences down.

‘Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again; nor will we licence it in whole or part to other broadcasters.

‘It does of course remain part of the historical record and there may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts for journalistic purposes, but these will be few and far between and will need to be agreed at executive committee level and set in the full context of what we now know about the way the interview was obtained. I would urge others to exercise similar restraint.’

Louise Prince of Harbottle & Lewis, on behalf of Alexandra Pettifer, who was known at the time as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, told the court that the former nanny was ‘relieved that the BBC accepts that the allegations are completely untrue and without any foundation whatsoever.

‘She is also pleased that the BBC has agreed to apologise unreservedly… in order to assist her in repairing the substantial harm it has caused her.

‘The BBC has agreed to pay to her a substantial sum of damages… It has also agreed to pay her legal costs.’

As well as false smears that she had an affair with Charles, it was also alleged that the Princess of Wales was tricked into granting her Panorama interview after Mr Bashir showed her a faked abortion ‘receipt’ for the nanny.

Diana was said to have become convinced that the nanny had become pregnant by Charles and allegedly confronted her at a Christmas party, where she acidly remarked: ‘So sorry to hear about the baby.’

It was previously reported that Miss Legge-Bourke could be set for a financial settlement in line with that received by graphic artist Matt Wiessler.

Insiders believe that such was the scale of Bashir’s slurs about Miss Legge-Bourke Mr Wiessler, who was blacklisted after he raised concerns about Bashir’s conduct on the 1995 interview, is thought to have received £500,000 as part of his agreement with the BBC.

The artist had been asked by Bashir to mock up false bank statements.

Elsewhere, earlier this year the BBC paid Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson £100,000. 

Commander Jephson donated in full his financial settlement from the BBC to charity, with money going to a children’s hospice. 

Bashir was said to have used fake bank statements which appeared to show he had received payments from the intelligence services.

The BBC also reportedly paid more than £1.5million to a charity selected by the Royal Family after the fallout from a report by Lord Dyson into the scandal.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said: ‘Following publication of the Dyson Report last year we have been working with those who suffered as a result of the deceitful tactics used by the BBC in pursuit of its interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for the Panorama programme in 1995, including the matters that were mentioned in court today in respect of Miss Tiggy Legge-Bourke, now Mrs Alexandra Pettifer.

‘The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise publicly to her, to the Prince of Wales, and to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives.

‘It is a matter of great regret that the BBC did not get to the facts in the immediate aftermath of the programme when there were warning signs that the interview might have been obtained improperly. Instead, as the Duke of Cambridge himself put it, the BBC failed to ask the tough questions.

‘Had we done our job properly Princess Diana would have known the truth during her lifetime. We let her, the royal family and our audiences down.

‘Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again; nor will we licence it in whole or part to other broadcasters.

‘It does of course remain part of the historical record and there may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts for journalistic purposes, but these will be few and far between and will need to be agreed at executive committee level and set in the full context of what we now know about the way the interview was obtained. I would urge others to exercise similar restraint.’

Source: Read Full Article