Prince William and Prince Harry have broken their silence on the new report claiming that journalist Martin Bashir used “deceitful methods” to land his sit down with the late Princess Diana in 1995.
As we reported, the BBC launched an investigation into the conduct of Bashir — who was working on their behalf at the time — and found he “commissioned” false bank statements that ultimately helped him secure the infamous Panorama interview with Will and Harry’s mum.
While discussing the scandal during a Panorama special, Princess Di’s brother Earl Charles Spencer linked his sister’s death to Bashir, noting that the journalist tricked the princess with a fake story that painted some of her closest confidants as traitors.
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Unsurprisingly, Will and Harry feel the same way, and the pair both had scathing statements for the BBC while addressing the scandal on Thursday. For his part, the Duke of Cambridge started by thanking former judge John Dyson, who carried out the probe, saying in a televised statement:
“I would like to thank Lord Dyson and his team for the report. It is welcome that the BBC accepts Lord Dyson’s findings in full – which are extremely concerning – that BBC employees: Lied and used fake documents to obtain the interview with my mother; Made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family which played on her fears and fuelled paranoia; Displayed woeful incompetence when investigating complaints and concerns about the programme; and were evasive in their reporting to the media and covered up what they knew from their internal investigation.”
“It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said. The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others. 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. But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived. She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions.”
Will went on to say the interview “should never be aired again,” adding:
“It is my firm view that this Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again. It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised 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. 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.”
Harry offered an equally emotional statement, sharing:
“Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest. The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life. 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. 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.”
Of course, while the brothers are obviously in agreement on this, time will tell how close they’ll ever be again following Harry’s own fallout with the family.
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[Image via Avalon/John Rainford/WENN]