The sons of Princess Diana and Prince Charles held little back in their responses Thursday to the just-released findings of an independent inquiry into the BBC’s infamous 1995 interview with his now deceased mother.
“Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service,” said Prince Harry in a statement today as the blast radius from Lord Dyson’s six-month investigation over the interview continues to grow. “She was resilient, brave and unquestionably honest. The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.”
Sixth in line to the British throne, the California-based Duke of Sussex continued: “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.
Then the transplanted Royal, who has reminded many of his late mother in the problems he and his wife, Meghan Markle, have had with the so-called Firm, really let loose.
“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 36-year old Prince Harry said.
Diana’s revelation-filled sit-down with ambitious reporter Martin Bashir that was broadcast on the BBC’s Panorama newsmagazine show was followed a month later by an extraordinary statement from Queen Elisabeth II recommending that the already estranged Princess of Wales and Prince Charles seek a divorce. The once fairytale marriage officially ended on August 28, 1996. That same year saw an initial probe into the quickly contentious Bashir interview, an investigation Lord Dyson has now termed “woefully ineffective.”
Pursued relentless by the media she both used and was used by, Diana died in a car accident in Paris on August 31, 1997, as paparazzi chased her and then-lover Dodi Fayed.
Second in line to the throne, Prince William went beyond his brother today and actually stepped in front of the cameras with his own scathing statement.
“It is my view that the deceitful way that the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said,” the Duke of Cambridge said, quoting in part from the 127-page inquiry report.
Prince William said that the way that the interview was obtained "substantially influenced" what his mother said and that it was responsible for making his parents' relationship worse pic.twitter.com/cSbzhI0iCA
— ITV News (@itvnews) May 20, 2021
“The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse, and has since hurt countless others,” Prince William added. “It brings 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 her.”
Dyson’s damning report concluded that Bashir “commissioned fake bank statements” that greased the way for the reporter to get to Princess Diana through her brother, Charles Spencer. Dyson went on to write that Bashir “deceived and induced him [Spencer] to arrange a meeting with Princess Diana” during which he persuaded her to take part in the 1995 Panorama interview. “This behaviour was in serious breach of the 1993 edition of the BBC’s Producer Guidelines on straight dealing,” the report noted.
A religious affairs correspondent for the BBC since 2016 after less than successful stints at ABC and MSNBC, Bashir resigned from the UK public broadcaster earlier this month.