Princess Diana’s sons have shared their views of Lord Dyson’s condemnation of former BBC journalist Martin Bashir’s unethical behaviour in acquiring the 1995 Panorama interview with her.
Prince William and Prince Harry gave separate statements in the wake of the scandal, which Harry alluded to being part of a larger problem which ultimately led to her death.
The Duke of Cambridge said the BBC commercialised falsehoods and showed “woeful incompetence” in investigating Bashir during its internal investigation in 1996.
As the report was shared publicly yesterday (20 May), Bashir - who quit the BBC this month on health grounds - said he “will always remain immensely proud of that interview."
‘Exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life’
From his home in LA, Harry described the findings by Lord Dyson that he used deceitful methods as Harry said: “Our mother lost her life because of this,” referring to “practices..bigger than one outlet, one network, or one publication.”
He said: “The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.
“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.
“Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed.”
‘Let’s remember who she was and what she stood for’
The Duke of Sussex, who told actor Dax Shepard’s podcast last week that he was ‘hugely’ influenced by his mother, described her in yesterday’s statement as “ an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service.” adding that she “was resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest.”
He concluded: “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.”
‘Major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse’
The Duke of Cambridge said the falsehoods told by Bashir to his late mother fuelled the breakdown of her marriage to his father, The Prince of Wales.
In the 1995 Panorama interview, Diana famously told how Charles had an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
She said: “There were three of us, so it got a bit crowded.”
Following the publication of Lord Dyson’s report, William thanked the judge and welcomed the BBC’s acceptance that it failed his mother.
He then outlined how his mother was lied to by the BBC and Bashir, he said: “[The BBC] 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.”
He added that the unethical behaviour of Bashir “substantially influenced what [Diana] said” and was a “major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”
‘The BBC...looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions’
William, who was 15 years old when Diana died in a car crash in Paris, said he felt “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.”
However, he said the worst aspect of the BBC’s failing was that Diana died before finding out she had been lied to, ultimately believing Charles and his staff had conspired against her, as well as members of her own security team and her brother’s staff.
He said: “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.”
On the matter of the BBC, William stated: “It is my firm view that this Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again.
‘They let my mother down, and my family down’
“It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised by the BBC and others.
“This settled narrative now needs to be addressed by the BBC and anyone else who has written or intends to write about these events.”
He concluded that his mother, his family and the public had been failed, saying: “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.”