William and Harry condemn BBC over Diana interview probe findings
Prince William and Prince Harry on Thursday responded to a probe that found the BBC used deceitful methods to get their bombshell 1995 interview with their mother, the late Princess Diana.
“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,” Harry, the Duke of Sussex, said in a statement to Variety.
“To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it,” Harry continued. “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.
“Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed,” he added. “By protecting her legacy, we protect everyone, and uphold the dignity with which she lived her life.”
The probe was carried out by retired judge Lord Dyson and found that BBC journalist Martin Bashir had used fake bank statements to lead Diana into believing the media was paying associates of her family. Bashir showed the fake documents to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, in order to gain access to her.
In a video statement released through the @KensingtonRoyal Twitter account, William thanked Dyson for his 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 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,” William said.
“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,” the Duke of Cambridge added. “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.”
A statement on today’s report of The Dyson Investigation pic.twitter.com/uS62CNwiI8
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 20, 2021
Bashir “deceived and induced [Spencer] to arrange a meeting with Princess Diana,” the report from Dyson read. “By gaining access to Princess Diana in this way, Mr. Bashir was able to persuade her to agree to give the interview.”
Bashir lied to his superiors, the report found, telling them he had not shown fake statements to anyone. He has since issued an apology, saying commissioning the fake bank statements “was a stupid thing to do,” but claims they had no bearing on Diana’s decision to sit down for an interview with him, the BBC reports.
In a handwritten note from Diana that was obtained in Dyson’s probe, she wrote, “Martin Bashir did not show me any documents, nor give me any information that I was not previously aware of.”
“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. We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement. “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.”