Prince William ‘believes Diana would never have given Panorama interview without manipulation by Martin Bashir’ and is ‘frustrated’ at BBC’s failure to address its ‘false narrative’
- Duke of Cambridge is said to be ‘frustrated’ and still feels ‘a lot of hurt and pain’
- The Bashir interview saw Diana declare ‘there were three of us in this marriage’
- But he forged bank statements to gain access to the Princess and peddled lies
- It is widely thought to have contributed to divorce from Prince Charles in 1996
- William believes BBC failed to address ‘false narrative’ established by interview
Prince William ‘believes Diana would never have agreed to a Panorama interview without manipulation by Martin Bashir’ and is ‘frustrated’ by the BBC’s failure to address the ‘false narrative’ it established.
The Duke of Cambridge is said to be ‘frustrated’ and still feels ‘a lot of hurt and pain’ over the 1995 Panorama interview.
The interview, watched by 23 million people, saw Diana declare ‘there were three of us in this marriage’, causing a worldwide sensation.
It is widely thought to have contributed to her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996 – a year prior to her fatal car crash in the Tunnel de l’Alma in Paris.
William believes the BBC has failed to address the ‘false narrative’ that was established by Bashir’s interview, The Sunday Times reports.
Bashir showed Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, forged bank statements to gain access to the Princess.
Those statements suggested Earl Spencer’s former head of security was receiving money from a tabloid newspaper and the security services to spy on Earl Spencer and Diana.
Bashir then tricked her by peddling a string of lies, including the slur that Prince Charles was having an affair with then royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke – now Alexandra Pettifer – and that she became pregnant and had an abortion as a result.
Prince William believes his mother, Princess Diana, would not have agreed to an interview with Martin Bashir without his manipulation
Diana during her interview with BBC journalist Bashir, who tricked her by peddling a string of lies
Alexandra Pettifer, better known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, a former nanny to the Duke of Cambridge, pictured outside the High Court on Thursday after the BBC agreed to pay her substantial damages
Pictured: Princess Diana in 1995. The interview, watched by 23 million people, saw Diana declare ‘there were three of us in this marriage’
Bashir (left) showed Earl Spencer forged bank statements in 1995 to gain access to the Princess and then tricked her by peddling a string of lies
Tunnel de l’Alma in Paris, which was the site of the car accident that killed Princess Diana on August 31, 1997
AUGUST 31, 1995: BBC Panorama journalist Martin Bashir meets Earl Spencer and shows him fake bank statements that freelance designer Matt Wiessler mocked up for him.
SEP 19, 1995: The Earl introduces Bashir to Princess Diana.
NOV 5, 1995: The sensational Panorama interview with Diana is broadcast.
LATE NOVEMBER 1995: Wiessler expresses concern to Panorama’s series producer that the fake bank statements may have played a role in obtaining the interview. Bashir is asked for clarification.
DEC 22, 1995: Bashir passes a note from Diana to his bosses in which she says: ‘I was not shown any documents nor given any information by Martin Bashir that I was not already aware of.’
MAR 23, 1996: Bashir admits to BBC bosses that he had lied about not showing the fake bank statements to anybody. Yet two months later, he is sent a note – signed off by Tony Hall, then head of BBC News – that his dealings with Diana were ‘absolutely straight and fair’.
APR 7, 1996: The Mail on Sunday publishes a story about the fake statements. The BBC denies they were used to obtain the interview, but Hall opens an inquiry.
APR 25, 1996: Hall tells BBC governors that Bashir commissioned fake statements because ‘he wasn’t thinking’, adding: ‘I believe he is, even with this lapse, an honest and honourable man.’ Bashir leaves the BBC, but returns in 2016 as religious affairs editor.
AUG 28, 1996: Diana’s divorce from Prince Charles is finalised.
AUG 31, 1997: Diana dies in a car crash in Paris.
NOV 3, 2020: The Daily Mail publishes a letter written by Earl Spencer in which he accuses the BBC of ‘sheer dishonesty’.
NOV 18, 2020: The BBC asks former Supreme Court Justice Lord Dyson to independently investigate the scandal.
MAY 20, 2021: Lord Dyson’s report condemns Bashir as ‘dishonest’ and criticises Hall’s investigation as ‘flawed’. Prince William condemns the BBC’s ‘incompetence’.
JUL 21, 2022: The BBC pays about £200,000 to royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke and admits she was subjected to ‘baseless’ smears by Bashir.
This week the BBC paid out around £200,000 to Ms Legge-Bourke for the ‘shocking’ smears made against her by Bashir as part of his campaign to secure his now discredited interview.
The BBC also issued a grovelling apology, with corporation boss Tim Davie pledging to never show the programme again.
Miss Legge-Bourke’s solicitor Louise Prince had earlier told the court that the allegations caused ‘serious personal consequences for all concerned’.
Ms Prince said that Ms Legge-Bourke had not known the source of the allegations over the last 25 years, but that it was now likely that the ‘false and malicious allegations arose as a result and in the context of BBC Panorama’s efforts to procure an exclusive interview with Diana, Princess of Wales’.
The corporation’s director-general Mr Davie directed a public apology to Charles, William and Harry, as well as Miss Legge-Bourke herself ‘for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives’.
He agreed with comments previously made by the Duke of Cambridge that the BBC ‘failed to ask the tough questions’ and admitted it was ‘a matter of great regret’ that bosses ‘did not get to the facts’.
The Bashir scandal was reignited in November 2020 when the Daily Mail published revelations about the deception the BBC reporter deployed to obtain his scoop.
Then, in May 2021, Lord Dyson’s damning report found that an internal inquiry into Bashir in 1996, led by Lord Hall, who was then head of news and current affairs and later became the Corporation’s Director-General, had been woefully ineffective.
It also ruled that the BBC had covered up what it knew. In his article today, Earl Spencer questions ‘who else at the BBC knew of Mr Bashir’s work at the time?’ He adds: ‘In a story of such unique importance as this, it is reasonable to believe that the chain of command must have gone very high indeed – beyond Panorama to the upper reaches of the BBC.’
He highlights that two years to the day after he first met Bashir, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris with ‘no Royal Protection Officers on hand, having chosen to dispense with the services of those who she should have been able to trust implicitly with her safety’.
On Friday night, Earl Spencer said he was groomed by disgraced BBC reporter Martin Bashir, as he renewed his demand for Scotland Yard to investigate the broadcaster.
Writing exclusively for The Mail on Sunday, Earl Spencer urged the Metropolitan Police to ‘reconsider their responsibilities’ and launch a probe as he revealed lawyers had told him that ‘unlawful and criminal behaviour’ had been committed by figures at the BBC.
In a series of hard-hitting comments, Earl Spencer said only the police ‘have the power to get to the bottom of this terrible scandal’ as he detailed how Bashir deceived him over three weeks to get close to his sister.
Last year, following a devastating report into the scandal by former Supreme Court Judge Lord Dyson, the Met considered whether to launch an investigation into a range of potential offences, including forgery, misconduct in public office and blackmail. But in September, the force said it had ‘not identified evidence of activity that constituted a criminal offence and will therefore be taking no further action’.
The decision has left Earl Spencer, 58, determined to continue to wage his campaign to win justice for his sister.
He wrote: ‘The question I am repeatedly asked by concerned members of the public, furious at what my sister was put through, is why have the police not prosecuted those involved for what various senior lawyers have told me is clearly unlawful and criminal behaviour?
‘I hope the police will reconsider their responsibilities in this matter. Only they have the power to get to the bottom of this terrible scandal, which led Diana to feel even more exposed and alone, and deceived her into forgoing those who cared for her and would have protected her.’
Earl Spencer’s insistence that the Met probe the scandal represents one of the first major tests for the force’s new Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley.
It is also a devastating blow for BBC bosses hoping that a string of compensation payments to Bashir’s victims would allow the Corporation to move on from its biggest scandal.
The affair also threatens to continue to dog Mr Davie as he tries to save the licence fee and make swingeing cuts.
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