BBC reporter Bashir tricked Princess Diana into interviewing her


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independent Question It found that the BBC “fell short of meeting its high standards of integrity and transparency” and that the reporter, Martin Bashir, acted in a “deceptive” manner to secure it. Explosive Interview 1995 With Princess Diana.

The Famous panorama Interview It was the first time a member of the royal family spoke so openly about their lives in extremely negative terms – and Diana didn’t stop a thing.

She said that the royal life drove her to bulimia and self-harm and no one in the royal family helped her, and instead dismissed her behavior as “unstable”. She admitted to having an affair with horse riding coach James Hewitt. Talking about her estranged husband Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, she famously said, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit busy.”

She also questioned Charles’ ability to become king and doubted that she would one day be the queen of the country, saying that instead she “would like to be the queen of people’s hearts.”

The fallout from the interview, which was watched by more than 20 million people, was seismic. He. She Believer Diana’s place in the world’s eyes as an aggrieved victim of an insensitive monarchy blow up Public opinion of the royal family, especially Charles. Shortly after it aired, Queen Charles and Diana, who had separated for more than two years, were ordered to file for a formal divorce.

But on November 2, 2020Weeks before the interview’s 25th anniversary, the Daily Mail published a letter from Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl of Spencer, accusing the BBC of “absolute treason” and unethical maneuvers behind the scenes in order to secure the interview.

After his public statements, the BBC launched an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the interview.

Anwar Hussain / WireImage / Getty Images / Via

Earl Spencer and his two nephews, Prince William and Prince Harry, follow the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, at her funeral on September 6, 1997.

According to this investigation, the results of which were published Thursday, Bashir “tricked” Earl Spencer with false information in order to obtain an introduction on his royal sister, which he then used to get her to agree to an interview. Then, when this information first surfaced, the BBC covered investigations into how this happened [Bashir] He got the interview and the suitability of the methods he used. “

In an effort to gain Earl Spencer’s trust, Bashir unintentionally “commissioned” a BBC graphic artist to create bank documents that appear to show that his former employee was paid from a press group. The report also states that Al-Bashir created additional bank statements that appeared to show that two of Diana’s current top aides were being paid by the same press group (meaning the payments were for selling private information to the newspapers). After the meeting in which Bashir showed Earl Spencer these documents, the reporter presented his royal sister.

Lord Dyson, the former judge who conducted the investigation, wrote: “By reaching Princess Diana in this way, Mr. Bashir was able to convince her to agree to the interview.”

Dyson investigation / BBC / trans

Shortly after the interview was first broadcast, the graphic designer who created the forged documents contacted senior BBC executives with his concerns about how they might be used, according to Guardian story Published April 8, 1996 – one day after the Mail on Sunday He spread the news of the forged documents and accused the BBC of carrying out “an underhanded, insidious and deceptive exercise” to secure the interview.

The BBC conducted an internal investigation at the time that ultimately led to Al-Bashir’s acquittal panorama, It was found that the documents were “not used in any way” to get the princess to agree to an interview.

But in his report, Lord Dyson Described The BBC’s internal investigation declared it “totally ineffective”. He said that al-Bashir had repeatedly lied to his superiors about the circumstances in which he got the interview, and among many other things, the BBC did not meet Earl Spencer, but instead “accepted the account Mr. Al-Bashir presented as being truthful”.

Lord Dyson said: “I am convinced that the BBC covered in its press records such facts because it was able to demonstrate how Al-Bashir secured the interview.”

The interview itself was conducted in secret. The Palace Press Relations team did not know about it until after it was registered, and only a handful of BBC employees knew of its existence. panorama The episode’s air date has been set. (The BBC Chair At the time, Marmaduke Hase was reported to be “extremely unhappy” that network executives had not told him about the program in advance).

The timing of the interview was also important. In her autobiography Queen Elizabeth: the life of a modern king, Historian Sally Biddle Smith wrote that Diana waited “on purpose” until Prince Charles’ birthday on November 14 to inform the palace that she would appear in panorama – The same interview was broadcast on November 20, the 48th wedding anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip.

Despite the behind-the-scenes “trick” maneuver, Lord Dyson concluded that Diana was, at the time she was first introduced to Bashir, “keen on the idea of ​​a TV interview” and “she may have agreed to be interviewed by anyone. With experience and a good reputation you can trust even without the intervention of Mr. Al-Bashir.

Lord Dyson said, “Whatever reservations she may have about this later, Princess Diana was pleased to meet at the time.”

at statementAl-Bashir, who retired from his post as a religious editor for the BBC last weekHe apologized for forging the documents, but insisted that “they have no influence whatsoever on Princess Diana’s personal choice to participate in the interview.” He also presented the investigation with a handwritten note from Diana in which he stated that he had not shown her “any documents nor submitted[n] Any information I was not aware of before. “

Dyson investigation / BBC / trans

Richard Sharp, current BBC chairman, said the company had “unreservedly accepted” the report’s findings, a sentiment also expressed by its current general manager, Tim Davy.

“Although the report states that Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of ​​an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process of securing the interview was far short of what the public can expect,” said Davy. “While the BBC today has much better processes and procedures, those that were in place at the time should have prevented the interview from taking place in this way.”

“While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a complete and unconditional apology. The BBC made that day.”

The BBC reported that the foundation has sent personal letters of apology to Diana’s two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as to Earl Spencer and Prince Charles.

On Thursday, Earl Spencer said he believed his sister might still be alive if she had not agreed to an interview with Bashir, saying his journalistic tactics made Diana think she could not trust those around her.

He said that Al-Bashir “was very adept at exaggerating people’s fears” and giving the impression that he would “save you in a difficult and dangerous world.”

“She didn’t know who to trust and in the end, when she passed away two years later, she was without any form of real protection.”

Harry and William both released statements critical of the media in response to the investigation findings Thursday.

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