'Extremely Concerning': Prince William Slams BBC Over 'Deceitful' Behavior Used By Martin Bashir To Land Princess Diana Interview
Prince William is coming to the defense of his mother Princess Diana.
On Thursday, May 20, a 127-page report from former High Court Judge Lord Dyson was released claiming journalist Martin Bashir "deceived and induced" the late royal’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, into securing his controversial BBC interview in 1995.
The Duke of Cambridge quickly weighed on the report with a lengthy statement where he thanked Lord Dyson and his team for their findings and shared bullet points of his concerns, according to The Telegraph.
"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
- were evasive in their reporting to the media and covered up what they knew from their internal investigation."
"It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother" the 38-year-old 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 continued in the statement. "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."
The dad-of-three, who is second in line to the British throne, also made it clear that he believes that Panorama, the show that initially aired the tell-all, "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 commercialised by the BBC and others," he said, "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," William concluded. "These failings, identified by investigative journalists, not only let my mother down, and my family down; they let the public down too."
Lord Dyson was commissioned six months ago by BBC’s current director-general Tim Davie to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the bombshell tell-all, The Telegraph reports. It was alleged that Bashir breached the BBC's editorial guidelines by creating two false bank statements that he showed to Earl Spencer. He then introduced Bashir to Diana and the interview took place two months later.
Following the new report, Davie said the BBC accepts "in full" its "identified clear failings."
"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 proceeds for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect," said Davie. "We are very sorry for this."
"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," he continued. "While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology."
In response to Lord Dyson’s report, Bashir released his own statement.
"This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago," said the 58-year-old. "I apologized then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up. It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret. But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and again more recently."
"It is saddening that this single issue has been allowed to overshadow the princess' brave decision to tell her story, to courageously talk through the difficulties she faced, and, to help address the silence and stigma that surrounded mental health issues all those years ago," he continued. "She led the way in addressing so many of these issues and that's why I will always remain immensely proud of that interview."
Bashir has since stepped down from his role as the editor of religion for BBC.