LONDON — Princes William and Harry are speaking out after an investigation revealed that former BBC journalist Martin Bashir used “deceitful” tactics to land a controversial interview with the princes’ late mother, Princess Diana, in 1995.
According to The Associated Press, the BBC revealed the findings of the inquiry, sparked by concerns raised by Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, in a report released Thursday. Retired judge Lord John Dyson, whom the BBC tapped to lead the probe, determined that Bashir used unethical practices, such as showing fake bank statements to Charles Spencer, to obtain the interview with the princess, the AP reported. The new report also claimed that the BBC covered up Bashir’s actions and criticized the network’s previous investigation into the matter.
BBC Chairman Richard Sharp acknowledged that there were “unacceptable failures” and apologized to the royal family, according to the AP. In addition, Bashir, who recently left the network due to health complications from COVID-19, apologized for making the fake statements but did not believe the documents affected Diana’s “personal choice” to participate in the interview, the AP reported.
In a statement and video released Thursday, William, 38, slammed the network.
“It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said,” said William, whose mother divorced his father, Prince Charles, in 1996. “The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”
The prince, who is second in line to the throne, added that it brings him “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” Diana, who died in 1997.
William’s 36-year-old brother, Harry, issued a similar statement.
“Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave and unquestionably honest. The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life,” Harry’s statement read.
“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.”
The statement continued: “Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed. 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.”
The statement came the same day that a mental health documentary series by Harry and media mogul Oprah Winfrey debuted on Apple TV+. In “The Me You Can’t See,” Harry said he developed “a fear of losing” after his mother’s death, according to People magazine. Harry’s wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, inspired him to start seeing a therapist early into their relationship, which began in 2016, he said.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group