The interview made Bashir a household name and was watched by tens of millions as Diana bared her soul to the world. However, Lord Dyson's inquiry has concluded Bashir acted deceitfully and that he produced fake documents to ensure Diana agreed to the interview.
The BBC has written to senior members of the Royal Family with apologies since Lord Dyson concluded the inquiry. This included writing to her two sons, William and Harry, who have blasted the BBC's failings.
Prince William said that he was “most saddened” that his mother never discovered the deceit that had taken place. He also described Bashir as a “rogue reporter” and blasted BBC bosses. Prince Harry has also spoken out following the inquiry. He said that his mother had ultimately died because of the “ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices.”
Meanwhile, the Duke of Sussex said these practices are continuing today and that it was far more widespread than Bashir and the BBC.
In a statement, Prince Harry said, "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."
Connection between interview and Diana’s death
Princess Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, said he believes there is a link between the Panorama interview, which was secured through deceit and underhand practices, and the death of his sister.
This sentiment appears to have been echoed by Prince William. It is widely accepted the interview acted as a “tipping point” in accelerating Diana and Prince Charles towards divorce, resulting in events that eventually led to Diana’s tragic death.
The Duke of Cambridge said that it is not just his mother that was deceived and hurt by the media, but that it has also affected “countless others” since.
He said, “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.”
Regret over falsified documents
Bashir has stated that it was stupid to obtain falsified documents and added that he regretted this. However, he also indicated they had not affected Diana's decision to give the interview and that she would have allowed it to go ahead anyway.
The report from the inquiry included a letter that Diana had written stating that she had no regrets about giving the interview. The falsified documents had not been personally shown to her by Bashir. However, they had been shown to her brother, Earl Spencer, and Lord Dyson concluded that this resulted in the BBC gaining indirect access to Diana through her brother.
Bashir would later produce a controversial documentary and collection of interviews with Michael Jackson – Living with Michael Jackson - in 2003. Some are now calling for his conduct around this production to be investigated following Lord Dyson's inquiry.
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