Prince William, Prince Harry are faced with grief after Martin Bashir’s ‘deceitful’ Diana interview: author

Royals slam BBC for Princess Diana interview

The Spectator Associate Editor Douglas Murray on the BBC deceiving Princess Diana for an interview.

EXCLUSIVE: The recent discovery of Princess Diana’s controversial interview with Martin Bashir in 1995 has brought painful flashbacks for her children.

On Thursday, The Telegraph reported that the journalist used “deceitful behavior” to secure his televised tell-all with the Princess of Wales. The 127-page report, released by former High Court Judge Lord Dyson, concluded that Bashir “deceived and induced” Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, into securing the interview for Panorama.

The late royal’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, released separate statements following the report. William, in particular, condemned the BBC for allowing the interview to take place.

“This is a shocking tragedy,” royal author Anna Pasternak told Fox News. “It’s desperately sad for the princes, as there is no doubt that this will re-trigger their grief and outrage at what happened to their mother.”

Most recently, Pasternak has written about the other American divorcee who married a royal for a book titled “The Real Wallis Simpson.” The British writer tracked down Simpson’s last remaining circle of intimate friends who wanted to set the record straight about her controversial life.

Pasternak commended William’s “dignified and crisp” approach to handling the scandal.

“Prince William is a pure statesman,” she explained. “He aligns with the monarchy and everything it stands for – duty and service – which bodes well for the future of the institution. William is the best chance of the longevity of the monarchy in today’s world. He is the future.”

As for Harry’s statement, Pasternak said she fears the Friday launch of his mental health docuseries with Oprah Winfrey on AppleTV+ titled “The Me You Can’t See” overshadows his message.

“William’s approach has deep roots and is dependable, whereas Harry is aligning himself with a fickle and shallow celebrity world,” she claimed. “… His Oprah and AppleTV+ interviews demonstrably now place him outside the monarchy; attacking and criticizing it.”

“… The only positive from this is that the truth does eventually come out and it also highlights the tenacity and efficacy of investigative journalism,” Pasternak added.

According to The Telegraph, BBC’s current director general Tim Davie said the cooperation accepts “in full” the findings of Lord Dyson.

“Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the proceeds for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect,” said Davie. “We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings.”

“While today’s BBC has significantly better processes and procedures, those that existed at the time should have prevented the interview being secured this way,” he continued. “The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time and been more transparent about what it knew. While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC offers that today.”

In response to Lord Dyson’s report, Bashir released his own statement.

Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program Panorama. 
(Photo by © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

“This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago,” said the 58-year-old, as quoted by the outlet. “I apologized then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up. It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret. But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and again more recently.”

“I also reiterate that the bank statements had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview,” Bashir shared. “Evidence handed to the inquiry in her own handwriting (and published alongside the report today) unequivocally confirms this, and other compelling evidence presented to Lord Dyson reinforces it. In fact, despite his other findings, Lord Dyson himself in any event accepts that the princess would probably have agreed to be interviewed without what he describes as my ‘intervention.’

“It is saddening that this single issue has been allowed to overshadow the princess’ brave decision to tell her story, to courageously talk through the difficulties she faced, and, to help address the silence and stigma that surrounded mental health issues all those years ago. She led the way in addressing so many of these issues and that’s why I will always remain immensely proud of that interview.”

According to the outlet, Lord Dyson was commissioned six months ago by Davie to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the bombshell tell-all. It was alleged that Bashir breached the BBC’s editorial guidelines by creating two false bank statements that he showed to Earl Spencer.  The 57-year-old then introduced Bashir to Diana. The interview took place two months later from the meeting.

In this Nov. 21, 1995 file photo a selection of front pages of most of Britain’s national newspapers showing their reaction to Princess Diana’s television interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir. Prince William and his brother Prince Harry have issued strongly-worded statements criticizing the BBC and British media for unethical practices after an investigation found that Bashir used "deceitful behavior" to secure Princess Diana’s most explosive TV interview in 1995. 
(AP Photo/Martin Cleaver)

In November 2020, Earl Spencer told People magazine the documents were influential in his decision to approach Diana about the interview, as they alleged that a member of his staff was being paid by tabloids to leak information about the princess’s family.

“This was what led me to talk to Diana about such things,” he told the outlet. “This, in turn, led to the meeting where I introduced Diana to Bashir, on September 19, 1995. This then led to the interview.”

In October 2020, the Sunday Times alleged that Bashir manipulated Diana into giving the tell-all by showing those faulty bank statements to her brother. After facing pressure from Diana’s family following the report, Davie commissioned an independent inquiry to investigate Bashir’s tactics.

Bashir has stepped down from his role as the editor of religion for BBC. The departure was confirmed in an email BBC’s deputy director of news Jonathan Munro sent to staff.

Earl Spencer expressed his appreciation for the findings.

“I’d like to thank the TV journalist Andy Webb for his tireless professionalism in bringing the Bashir-Panorama-BBC scandal to light,” he tweeted. If he hadn’t have pursued this story for well over a decade, and shared his findings with me last October, today’s findings wouldn’t have surfaced.”

In the infamous interview, the Princess of Wales said “there were three of us in this marriage,” referring to Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, who he married after Diana’s death. Diana, who divorced Charles in 1996, died in a Paris car crash in 1997 as she was being pursued by paparazzi. She was 36.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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