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Princess Diana’s interview had ‘deceitful’ methods; Prince Harry, Prince William respond

New details about Diana’s famous 1995 interview with BBC have been exposed. What did the report find? How are the royal family and BBC responding?

In this Nov. 21, 1995, file photo a selection of front pages of most of Britains’s national newspapers showing their reaction to Princess Diana’s television interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir.
In this Nov. 21, 1995, file photo a selection of front pages of most of Britains’s national newspapers showing their reaction to Princess Diana’s television interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir. New details about the famous 1995 Panorama interview have brought another wave of controversy for the royal family.
Associated Press

An independent report issued Thursday exposed the “deceitful” methods used by a BBC journalist to secure the 1995 landmark interview with Princess Diana and exposed BBC’s efforts to cover up the situation, BBC reports. The 127-page report, conducted by former judge Lord John Anthony Dyson, included these key findings:

  • BBC reporter and interviewer Martin Bashir forged bank documents that indicated some palace staff were being paid to spy on Princess Diana, reports CNN and BBC.
  • Bashir showed these documents to Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, to deceive the earl into introducing him to Princess Diana, BBC said.
  • BBC executives learned of Bashir’s unethical behavior but continued to cover up the situation for years, BBC reports.

The report’s findings have drawn strong responses from those involved in the wrongdoings and Princess Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, according to CNN, BBC, and Fox News.

Prince William responds to Princess Diana interview report

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has given the strongest and most crucial condemnation of BBC. He blamed BBC’s failings over the interview with his mother for his parent’s worsening relationship, CNN reports.

  • William said the interview contributed “significantly” to Princess Diana’s “fear, paranoia and isolation,” via CNN.
  • “She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions,” William said in his recent video, according to BBC.

William also called for the interview never to be aired again. However, the original interview and a documentary about the surrounding controversy are still available for viewing on Panorama, says CNN.

Prince Harry responds to Princess Diana interview report

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, responded with criticism of wider media culture, not specifically BBC, contributing to the death of his mother, Princess Diana, reports CNN.

  • According to CNN, Harry also responded saying, “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,”

Princess Diana died in a 1997 car crash in Paris while being pursued by paparazzi, Fox News said.

BBC responds to its cover-up around Princess Diana’s interview

The current director of BBC, Tim Davie, also responded to the report.

  • “It is clear that the proceeds for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect,” Davie said per Fox News.
  • “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,” Davie said, according to Fox News and BBC.

Journalist Martin Bashir responds

The incriminated journalist, Bashir, admitted to forging the bank documents, BBC reports.

  • “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 said per Fox News.
  • About the interview with Princess Diana, Bashir said via Fox News, that Diana “led the way in addressing so many of these issues and that’s why I will always remain immensely proud of that interview.”

Last week, Bashir stepped down from his role at BBC as the editor of religion, citing health concern, Fox News and CNN report.