Martin Bashir says he is “deeply sorry” over an explosive report that he used “deceptive behavior” to secure a 1995 BBC interview with Princess Diana. However, he denies that the interview was responsible for any prejudice to the late royal.
“I never meant to harm Diana in any way and I don’t think we did,” the reporter told The Sunday Times. “Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted it to be, from the moment she wanted to alert the palace, to the time of its airing, to its content… My family and I loved it.
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The report concluded that Bashir “ordered fake bank statements” which gave him access to Diana by cheating on his brother, Charles Spencer, to set up a meeting which Diana was later persuaded to attend in 1995. interview.
“This behavior was a serious violation of the 1993 edition of the BBC’s Direct Trading Guidelines for Producers,” former High Court Judge Lord Dyson said.
Bashir admitted showing Spencer the forged documents, for which he said he was “deeply sorry,” but the claims had “no bearing” on Diana or the interview.
Diana said during the interview that there were “three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded”. Following the revelations, Queen Elizabeth II issued a statement recommending that Diana and Prince Charles divorce. The marriage officially ended on August 28, 1996. On August 31, 1997, Diana died in a car accident in Paris while being pursued by the paparazzi.
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Diana’s sons, Princes William and Harry, have both suggested that Bashir’s interview directly contributed to the Princess of Wales’ untimely death.
Prince William said in a video statement that Bashir made “sinister and false statements about the royal family who performed on [Diana’s] fears and paranoia fueled. “
“The interview was a major contribution to the worsening of my parents’ relationship and has since injured countless other people,” Prince William added. “It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures have contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from the last few years with her. But what saddens me most, it is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known she had been cheated. “
Prince Harry echoed his brother’s comments in a separate statement, noting that “the ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately cost him his life.”
“Our mother lost her life because of it, and nothing has changed,” Harry added. “By protecting her heritage, we are protecting everyone and respecting the dignity with which she lived her life. Let us remember who she was and what she stood for.”
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While Bashir told The Times he “can’t imagine what their family must be feeling every day,” he dismissed the Duke of Cambridge’s claim that the way the interview was obtained had fueled the Diana’s isolation and paranoia.
“Even in the early 1990s there were stories and secretly recorded phone calls,” Bashir said. “I wasn’t the source of any of this.”
Spencer went even further than William, alleging that Bashir’s comments to his sister caused her to abandon her Royal Security Service in addition to her death.
“I don’t think I can be held responsible for most of the other things that were going on in his life and the complex issues surrounding those decisions,” Bashir argues. “I can understand the motivation [of Earl Spencer’s comments] but to channel the tragedy, the difficult relationship between the royal family and the media only on my shoulders seems a little unreasonable to me … The suggestion for which I am singularly responsible is, in my opinion, unreasonable and unfair. “
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Bashir added that he was a young man when the interview took place, and hopes that since joining the BBC in 2016 he has “displayed higher levels of probity and integrity”.
When asked if he would be able to forgive himself, Bashir said: “This is a really difficult question because it was a big mistake.”
“I hope people will give me the opportunity to show that I am truly sorry for what happened,” he added.
Following the release of Dyson’s report, Spencer thanked reporter Andy Webb for his “tireless professionalism in exposing the Bashir-Panorama-BBC scandal”.
“If he hadn’t pursued this story for over a decade, and shared his findings with me last October, today’s findings would not have surfaced.”
Bashir has since resigned from his role as the BBC’s religion editor and issued a statement apologizing for his conduct. The BBC’s news and current affairs director at the time, Tony Hall, also stepped down following the investigation.
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