An investigation on Thursday found that a 1995 BBC sensational and intimate interview with Princess Diana on her failed marriage was secured through “deceitful behaviour.”
The BBC had in November set up an investigation led by retired senior Court Judge, John Dyson after Charles Spencer, Diana’s Brother made renewed complaints over the use of false documents and dishonest tactics used by Martin Bashir in obtaining permission for the interview.
Spencer alleged Bashir commissioned fake bank statements relating to his sister’s former private secretary and another former royal household member to gain access to the princess.
The report said the interview by Martin Bashir fell short of BBC’s “high standards of integrity and transparency,” describing its internal probe in 1996 into what happened as “woefully ineffective.”
“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded” Princess Diana revealed of her marriage to the heir to the throne, Prince Charles in the Panorama interview watched by more than 20 million British Viewers.
In a statement apologising, Bashir said he deeply regretted faking the bank statements, calling it a stupid thing to do, but said he remained “immensely proud” of the interview adding that he had “no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview.”
He later went on to interview high-profile personalities like the late U.S. singer Michael Jackson.
“We now know that the BBC harbored a rogue reporter on Panorama who fabricated an elaborate, detailed but wholly false account of his dealings with Earl Spencer and Princess Diana,” John Birt, Director-General of the BBC at the time of the interview said.
“This is a shocking blot on the BBC’s enduring commitment to honest journalism; it is a matter of the greatest regret that it has taken 25 years for the full truth to emerge,” Birt said.
The corporation has sent personal apologies to the Prince of Wales, the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, and Diana’s brother Earl Spencer.
Published alongside Lord Dyson’s report is evidence in form of a handwritten note from Princess Diana in December 1995, months after the interview in which she says she had no regrets.
The princess’ marriage to Prince Andrew came to an end in 1992. She died in a Paris car crash in 1997.