LONDON – The BBC has apologized after an investigation found journalist Martin Bashir used “fraudulent behavior” to conduct a landmark interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.
An independent report released Thursday after months of investigation found that Bashir acted inappropriately and violated the editorial guidelines of the publicly funded broadcaster to gain access to the Royal, which he famously told in a November 1995 interview, that “there were three of us in this marriage.” “
She was referring to her husband Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, which he would marry in 2005, eight years after Diana’s death in a car accident in August 1997.
The watershed interview was watched by more than 20 million people in the UK and sent shock waves through the royal family. Months after it aired, Diana and Charles divorced.
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BBC Director General Tim Davie apologized on Thursday.
“Although the report says Diana, Princess of Wales, was interested in the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process of securing the interview fell far short of what the public rightly expected,” he said in a statement.
“We are very sorry.”
The interview was re-examined following the UK broadcaster ITV’s release of a documentary entitled “The Diana Interview: A Princess’ Revenge” which aired last November. It was alleged that Bashir had a graphic designer create fake bank statements allegedly used to convince Diana that royal employees were being paid to spy on her.
Diana’s brother Charles Spencer, tweeted on November 8, he knew that Bashir “used fake bank statements and other dishonesty to get my sister to conduct the interview.”
Spencer also claimed he found out that the BBC also knew about the fake bank statements. He asked the network to apologize for the forged documents that led him to introduce Bashir to his sister.
Just 10 days later, the network appointed Lord John Anthony Dyson, a former UK Supreme Court Justice, to investigate the circumstances of the interview.
His investigation also dodged an internal BBC investigation into the original broadcast which found that Bashir did not force Diana to speak to him.
Thursday’s report concluded that Bashir had actually commissioned the bank statements and shown them to Earl Spencer, Diana’s younger brother, to “get him to arrange the meeting with Princess Diana”.
Hours before his results were published, Charles Spencer tweeted a childhood photo with Diana along with the message, “Some ties go very far back.”
Bashir worked for another UK network before joining ABC in the US and later MSNBC where he was a newscaster. He returned to the BBC in 2016 and resigned as a religious affairs editor last week after months of ill health.
The BBC announced last year that the 58-year-old had suffered serious coronavirus complications and had undergone heart surgery.
He did not comment publicly on the matter.
Diana’s two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, they said welcomed the investigation as a chance to find out the truth about what had happened.
The UK police ruled out a criminal investigation into his actions earlier this year, but the conclusions of the independent investigation are likely to have far-reaching implications for the BBC as it also convicted the network’s executives for failing to meet expected standards at the time.
It’s a delicate time for the royal family as the new generation of royals suffer from media slumps. Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have repeatedly complained to the tabloids and won a number of lawsuits against a number of outlets.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report