Princess Diana's "Panorama" interview in 1995 caused disorder inside the royal family and gave an unprecedented look into the collapsing marriage between the Princess of Wales and Prince Charles, reports said Friday.
According to an investigation, a BBC journalist used deceit to secure the sensational interview with Diana, all in front of 23 million people in Britain who tuned in.
An inquiry Thursday concluded that BBC journalist Martin Bashir, then a little-known reporter, had deceived Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, to win the interview.
The report, which was compiled by former senior judge Lord John Dyson, faulted BBC's management for covering up Bashir's conduct, which included creating phony bank statements to improperly manipulate Diana into giving the interview.
Diana was the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry. She married Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and heir to the throne, in 1981. But the couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.
In a rare emotionally charged statement by a royal, Prince William has slammed the BBC for contributing "significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation" felt by his late mother in the years before her death.
The report also drew a bitter reaction from Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who said the interview "poisoned what remained of her relationship with their father." The comments from the Duke of Cambridge come after BBC has written to them to apologize.
"The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened... while the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology," Timothy Davie, BBC's current director-general, said in remarks quoted by The New York Times.
It was the first time Diana had commented publicly about her crumbling marriage. The interview was a huge scoop for the BBC and turned Bashir into a star -- never before had a serving royal spoken in such candid terms about life in the Royal Family.
In the interview, Diana admitted having an affair and that "there were three of us in this marriage," referring to Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, with whom he had a relationship before and during his marriage, and who is now his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.
Diana also said Charles's affair with Bowles had made her feel "worthless" and that Buckingham Palace saw her as a "threat of some kind," The Times said.
On Twitter, Robert Jobson (@theroyaleditor) commented that it's not often he agrees with a royal reporter.
It’s not often I agree with a royal reporter #PrincessDiana pic.twitter.com/nwacgDEFTP — Dee (@duchessofpoms) May 20, 2021
Mike Graham, for his part, just wants the BBC shut.
Shall we just shut down the #BBC now? Why is it different from any tabloid situation? #Bashir #PrincessDiana
Harry lashes out over 'unethical' BBC interview with Diana
https://t.co/SQN2o4dPax — Mike Graham (@Iromg) May 20, 2021
Last week, BBC said Bashir was leaving his current job as religious affairs editor because of ill health.
Bashir apologised for the fake statements, but said he stood by his evidence from a quarter year ago and he didn't believe they had prompted Diana to give the interview, according to Reuters.