Princess Diana Interview: BBC to Probe Fake Document Allegations
In the November 1995 interview, Princess Diana told Martin Bashir that “there were three people” in her marriage.
The BBC announced on Wednesday, 18 November, that it will lead an independent investigation into how the explosive 1995 Panorama interview led by reported Martin Bashir happened with Diana, Princess of Wales, where she detailed her collapsing marriage to Prince Charles.
Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, called for an independent inquiry earlier this month, saying "sheer dishonesty" was used to secure the interview with the princess, reported the BBC.
The BBC announced that former Supreme Court judge Lord John Dyson, who was the Master of the Rolls – the second most senior judge in England and Wales – was appointed to lead the probe after allegations by Charles Spencer, brother of the late princess, surfaced in the media that Bashir used unethical methods, like forged bank documents, to persuade Princess Diana to talk.
"This is an important investigation which I will start straight away," Lord Dyson said in a statement, reported BBC. "I will ensure it is both thorough and fair."
MP Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS), said the investigation was the right way to proceed "given the gravity of the subject.”
In the November 1995 interview, which was watched by 22.8 million people around the globe, Princess Diana told Martin Bashir that “there were three people” in her marriage – her, Prince Charles, and his long-time lover Camilla Parker-Bowles – and also revealed she had been unfaithful.
Diana and Charles formally divorced in 1996. The following year, on 31 August 1997, 36-year-old Princess Diana, also known as the People’s Princess, died in a car crash in Paris, along with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and the driver of the car, Henri Paul.
The BBC's director general, Tim Davie, said: "The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation. Lord Dyson is an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process."
In a letter to Davie, Earl Spencer alleged that Bashir made defamatory statements about senior royals to gain his trust and access to his sister. He also alleged that Bashir used forged bank statements to wrongly suggest that two senior courtiers were paid by security services to spy on the Princess. Earl Spencer wrote: "If it were not for me seeing these statements, I would not have introduced Bashir to my sister”, reported Daily Mail.
These claims included that Diana’s private correspondence was being opened, her car tracked and phones tapped – described by the Mail as “preposterous lies”.
Bashir, 57, currently BBC News religion editor, is recovering from heart surgery and complications from COVID-19 and has not commented on the allegations, reported BBC.
(With inputs from BBC and Daily Mail)
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