‘Unlawful and criminal behaviour’: Princess Diana’s brother calls for police investigation into problematic BBC interview

Jul 25, 2022
Earl Spencer has called on police to investigate BBC's Panorama interview with Princess Diana. Source: Getty

Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer has called for a police investigation into the “unlawful and criminal behaviour” that ultimately led to the “deceitful” interview with BBC’s Panorama. 

Writing for the Daily Mail, Spencer alleged Panorama journalist Martin Bashir “groomed” him with false documents.

“Mr Bashir and I had our first meeting on August 31, 1995. Two years later, to the day, my youngest sister would be dead – killed in a car crash, with no royal protection officers on hand, having chosen to dispense with the services of those who she should have been able to trust implicitly with her safety,” Spencer wrote.

“I was shown forged bank statements; I was told of underhand payments, of spying, and of appalling deception. But, all along I was the one being deceived in order for Mr Bashir to get to my late sister, through me.”

Spencer said he then introduced his “extremely vulnerable” sister to Bashir, who “deceived [Diana] into forgoing those who cared for her and would have protected her”.

The Earl said that while Diana may have eventually decided to speak to the press, Bashir’s “agonising lies” gave her a “very skewed and false view of the situation she was in”.

“This led to her speaking in a way that set her on a course where she was without due protection when she needed it most,” he wrote.

“All those responsible must be held to account.”

British police have said they will not take any investigative or legal action into the interview in 1995 which saw Diana admit to having an affair and accuse Prince Charles of having an affair with Camilla.

Just shy of 27 years after the unscrupulous event, the BBC officially apologised to Prince Charles, William, Harry and their former nanny for “deceitful tactics used by the BBC in pursuit of its interview with Diana”.

An independent investigation into the programme which had almost 23 million viewers in the United Kingdom, known as 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 obtain the interview with Diana.

In the bombshell interview, allegations were made that William and Harry’s former nanny, Alexandra Pettifer, was involved in an affair with Charles, leading to a defamation case against the BBC, which Pettifer won on Thursday, July 21 in the London High Court.

BBC Director-General Tim Davie issued an apology “for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives”.

“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.”

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