A BBC journalist used deceit to win a sensational 1995 interview with Princess Diana in which she disclosed intimate details of her failed marriage to Prince Charles and the broadcaster covered up the deception, an inquiry says.
The BBC set up the investigation, headed by former senior judge John Dyson, in November following allegations from Diana’s brother Charles Spencer that he had been tricked into introducing her to journalist Martin Bashir.
Dyson’s report concluded that Bashir, then a little-known reporter, had shown Spencer fake bank statements suggesting that Diana was being bugged by the security services and that two senior aides were being paid to provide information about her.
“Mr Bashir deceived and induced him to arrange a meeting with Princess Diana,” the report said.
“Mr Bashir acted inappropriately and in serious breach of the 1993 edition of the Producers’ Guidelines on straight dealing.”
Spencer said he drew a line between the events and Diana’s death.
“She didn’t know who to trust and in the end when she died, two years later, she was without any form of real protection,” Spencer said.
The BBC has written to Diana’s son Prince William to apologise.
A statement on today’s report of The Dyson Investigation pic.twitter.com/uS62CNwiI8
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 20, 2021
During the Panorama interview, watched by more than 20 million viewers in the UK, Diana shocked the nation by admitting to an affair and sharing details of her marriage to the heir to the throne Prince Charles.
It was the first time Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997, had commented publicly about her doomed marriage.
Prince William has since responded to the findings of the report, describing them as “extremely concerning”.
In a statement, Prince William pointed out his concern that the broadcaster “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.”