Princess Diana’s sons — Prince William and Prince Harry — issued unbearably sad and angry statements condemning Martin Bashir’s controversial interview with her in 1995.
Prince Harry, 36, has spoken out after the BBC has released a report pertaining to journalist Martin Bashir‘s controversial 1995 interview with his late mother Princess Diana. After an inquiry, it was found that the network and Bashir used “deceitful behavior” to “engineer” the interview with Diana, in which she memorably said that there were “three people” in her marriage to Prince Charles, 72. The line was in reference to the affair between Charles and his now-wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 73.
“Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest,” Harry began in his deeply emotional statement to HollywoodLife in response to the inquiry. “The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life,” he went on, referencing her tragic 1997 death in Paris after she was chased by paparazzi on motorcycles. Diana was just 36 at the time of her passing, leaving behind her sons William, then 15, and Harry, who was just 12.
In the inquiry, it was found that Martin Bashir broke editorial guidelines and ethical rules to get the late Princess of Wales to agree to the interview on BBC show Panorama — including falsified bank statements. Of note, Diana and Charles married in 1981, separated in 1992, and divorced by 1996. Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle‘s recent interview with Oprah Winfrey has also drawn comparison’s to Diana’s bombshell 1995 sit down.
“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 — who is now father to son Archie, 2 — went on. “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,” he concluded.
Prince William, 38, also released a statement following the inquiry, thanking the judge, Lord John Dyson, who oversaw the inquiry. “I would like to thank Lord Dyson and his team for the report. It is welcome that the BBC accepts Lord Dyson’s findings in full – which are extremely concerning,” the dad of three said. “That BBC employees: lied and used fake documents to obtain the interview with my mother; made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family which played on her fears and fueled paranoia; displayed woeful incompetence when investigating complaints and concerns about the program; and were evasive in their reporting to the media and covered up what they knew from their internal investigation,” the Duke of Cambridge added.
A statement on today’s report of The Dyson Investigation pic.twitter.com/uS62CNwiI8
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 20, 2021
He went on to reference the “deceit” involved in the 1995 televised interview. “It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said. The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others. It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her,” he explained. “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. 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,” the future King of England said, in a rare, lengthy statement.
“It is my firm view that this Panorama program holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again. It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialized by the BBC and others,” William, who married Kate Middleton in 2011, said. “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,” he concluded.
The inquiry into the interview was completed for a six month period, which cost the BBC $2 million USD to complete. The 127 report found that Martin Bashir “commissioned fake bank statements” that showed payments between the publisher of UK newspaper The Sun to a former employee of Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, in an effort to convince Diana she was being spied on. The statements were given to Diana’s brother, who in turn set up a meeting with Diana and Bashir to secure the the interview. The action was also in “breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines in 1993, the inquiry noted. The public broadcaster apologized on Thursday, May 20, as did Bashir, who stepped down at the BBC on May 15.
“This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago. I apologised then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up,” Martin said in a statement published by Deadline. “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,” he also said. HollywoodLife has also reached out to representatives of Bashir for comment.