The former Metropolitan Police commissioner who led the inquiry into Princess Diana’s death has stated that the journalist who conned Princess Diana into revealing details about her marriage on BBC’s Panorama show, should “definitely” have been brought in for questioning.
Martin Bashir’s behaviour surrounding his infamous interview with the Princess of Wales in 1995, has been described as “deceitful…, unlawful and criminal behaviour”.
Ex-commissioner Lord Stevens told The Telegraph that had he known of Bashir’s dishonest tactics at the time of the inquiry, the journalist would have been immediately interviewed “under caution”.
He went on to state that the journalist’s behaviour after the Princess’ death continued to be suspicious, as evident by the fact that he didn’t make himself known to police considering the state paranoia he helped to perpetuate for Diana.
“We would have interviewed him in a shot,” Lord Stevens said.
“Why didn’t he come forward? We didn’t see him and when you think about it, that’s inexcusable.
“He must have followed it. And of course, he’d have known how culpable he was in terms of her state of mind.”
In the 1995 programme, the late princess discussed the toll her marriage was taking on her mental health, detailing her struggle with bulimia and describing how she had days when she didn’t want to get out of bed.
The interview made global headlines when Diana declared “there were three of us in this marriage”, in reference to the Prince of Wales’ infidelity with Camilla Parker-Bowles. The interview was watched by nearly 23 million viewers in the United Kingdom.
An independent investigation into the programme, The Dyson Report, found in 2021 that the BBC “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark” and that Bashir had indeed used deceitful methods to secure the interview with Diana.
Prince William said the report’s findings brought him “indescribable sadness”.
A statement on today’s report of The Dyson Investigation pic.twitter.com/uS62CNwiI8
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 20, 2021
“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,” William stated at the time.
“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.”
Allegations were also made that William and Harry’s former nanny, Alexandra Pettifer, was involved in an affair with Charles. Pettifer won a defamation claim against the broadcaster on Thursday, July 21 in the London High Court.
After almost 27 years, the BBC issued a formal apology to Prince Charles, William and Harry as well as their former nanny for the “deceitful tactics used by the BBC in pursuit of its interview with Diana”.
“Following publication of the Dyson report last year we have been working with those who suffered as a result of the deceitful tactics used by the BBC in pursuit of its interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, for the Panorama program in 1995, including the matters that were mentioned in court today in respect of Miss Tiggy Legge-Bourke, now Mrs Alexandra Pettifer,” Davie said in a statement.
“The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise publicly to her, to The Prince of Wales [Charles], and to the dukes of Cambridge [William] and Sussex [Harry], for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives.
“It is a matter of great regret that the BBC did not get to the facts in the immediate aftermath of the program when there were warning signs that the interview might have been obtained improperly.
“Instead, as The Duke of Cambridge himself put it, the BBC failed to ask the tough questions. Had we done our job properly Princess Diana would have known the truth during her lifetime. We let her, the royal family and our audiences down.”