The BBC's 1995 Princess Diana Interview Was Obtained by "Deceit"
Martin Bashir's 1995 interview with Princess Diana "fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency" according to an inquiry by the BBC. Entertainment Tonight reports that former British Supreme Court Judge John Dyson led an inquiry that discovered Bashir used falsified bank statements to get face time with the Princess of Wales.
The Sunday Times also reported that the fake documents, which Bashir showed to Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, were meant to play into Diana's fears that she was having her conversations recorded by the British secret services.
"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 process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect," Tim Davie, the BBC's director-general, said in a statement. "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 in this way," the statement 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."
Bashir apologized for his actions. In a statement to the BBC, he claimed that the fake statements "had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview."
In a handwritten note that was part of the investigation, Diana wrote that she wasn't presented with any sort of information that she didn't already know.
"Martin Bashir did not show me any documents," the letter reads. "Nor give me any information that I was not previously aware of."
Bashir maintains that he is still "immensely proud" of the interview.
Prince Harry issued a statement, as well. In his message, Harry condemned the "culture of exploitation and unethical practices" that ultimately led to his mother's death. And he noted that it's very much still prevalent.
"Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest. The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life," the statement reads. "To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it. That is the first step towards justice and truth."
Prince William also released statement after the investigation.
Just a year after the interview, the BBC completed an internal inquiry that cleared Bashir and BBC News of wrongdoing. However, last year, Charles Spencer called out the BBC for the interview, which prompted a second independent inquiry.
"[The BBC] have yet to apologize for what truly matters here: the incredibly serious falsification of bank statements suggesting that Diana's closest confidants were spying on her for her enemies," Spencer told People back in November 2020. "This was what led me to talk to Diana about such things. This in turn led to the meeting where I introduced Diana to Bashir, on 19 September 1995. This then led to the interview."