Prince Harry has blasted journalist Martin Bashir and the BBC following an independent inquiry into the 1995 Panorama interview with his late mum, insisting the U.K. TV exclusive led to her death.
via: Page Six
William insisted the “Panorama” special should never be aired again, adding: “The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”
Harry added: “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.”
The brothers — whose own relationship is strained — are united in their disgust at Britain’s public service broadcaster, which aired the November 1995 interview where their mother broke her silence on Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, saying: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
While Diana was separated from Charles at the time, it led to the Queen insisting the couple should finally divorce. In the wake of the divorce, she lost her Her Royal Highness title — and all the security that came with it.
Just two years later, in August 1997, Diana died in a car crash in Paris while on vacation with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed. William and Harry were 15 and 12 at the time.
The Princes spoke out in the wake of findings of an official report by Lord Dyson released Thursday, which castigated Bashir, who wooed Diana into giving the interview by using fake documents, including mocked-up bank statements that purported to show palace staff being paid for stories about her.
The report also slapped down BBC bosses, including former BBC chief Lord Hall, for attempting to cover it up.
Late Thursday, William and Harry issued their own statements. William said: “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.”
He added that the BBC “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 firm view that this ‘Panorama’ program 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 commercialized by the BBC and others,” he added.
“This settled narrative now needs to be addressed by the BBC and anyone else who has written or intends to write about these events.”
Harry — who has made no secret of his dislike of the press — added: “To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it. That is the first step towards justice and truth.
BREAKING: Prince Harry has issued a statement in response to the investigation into Martin Bashir's 1995 BBC interview with Princess Diana:
"The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life." pic.twitter.com/ZiWT7Yw0Ui
— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) May 20, 2021
“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.”
William said: “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.”
The BBC has now sent letters of apology to the Queen and the princes, alongside Prince Charles, while Bashir has quit his role as religion editor of the BBC.