On Thursday, royal brothers Prince William and Prince Harry have released powerful statements after Lord Dyson’s investigation found that the methods used to obtain their late mother Princess Diana’s BBC Panorama interview in 1995. During the interview, watched by more than 20 million viewers, Princess Diana famously said there were “three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
Now, it has been revealed that Martin Bashir used “deceitful behavior” to secure his controversial interview.
The BBC has written to apologise to Princes William and Harry, as well as the Prince of Wales and Diana’s brother Earl Spencer, following the publication of a report, which concluded that the interview was obtained under false pretenses, after Diana’s brother Earl Spencer was “deceived and induced” by Bashir to arrange a meeting.
A statement on today’s report of The Dyson Investigation pic.twitter.com/uS62CNwiI8— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 20, 2021
In a heartfelt statement, William expressed sadness and deep concern over the report and criticized the “deceitful way the interview was obtained.”
He said:”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 – 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 fuelled paranoia; displayed woeful incompetence when investigating complaints and concerns about the programme; and were evasive in their reporting to the media and covered up what they knew from their internal investigation.”
William continued: “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,” William added
“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,” he said of the network and of Bashir, though he did not specifically name him.
“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 said. (However, on Thursday night, the BBC aired a special titled Princess Diana, Martin Bashir and the BBC.)
“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.”
Prince Harry thanked those “who have taken some form of accountability” over the interview, but said, “what deeply concerns me is that practices like these – and even worse – are still widespread today”.