Following the BBC’s admission that journalist Martin Bashir falsified documents to secure his infamous 1995 interview with Princess Diana, her son, Prince William, all but blamed that interview for her death, saying it “holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again.”
The news organization said Thursday that Bashir showed falsified bank statements to Diana’s brother Earl Spencer to secure the “Panorama” interview, which played into her fears that members of Spencer’s staff were leaking family news to the press. According to BBC, 23 million people watched the 1995 interview when it aired, which amounted to about 39% of the British population at the time.
Prince William, in a videotaped statement on Thursday, said these tactics included “lurid and false claims about the royal family” that “played on her fears and fueled paranoia” and “substantially influenced what my mother said” during the interview. He also said it was a crucial step in “making my parents’ relationship worse,” and blamed it for contributing “significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”
“But what saddens me most,” William said, “is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she’d been deceived. She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders of the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions.”
“It is my firm view that this ‘Panorama’ program holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again,” he continued. “It effectively established the false narrative that for over a quarter century has been commercialized by the BBC and others. This settled narrative now needs to be addressed by the BBC and anyone else who has written, or intends to write, about these events.”
His statement concluded: “In an era of fake news, public service broadcasting and a free press have never been more important. These failings, identified by investigative journalists, not only let my mother down, and my family down, they let the public down too.”
Watch Prince William’s statement below: