Although 27 years have passed since Diana’s famous interview with the show aired panorama by the BBC – the one in which he confessed that “there were three in that marriage, it was a bit crowded” – the princess’ gossip is still relevant. The British chain has been in the spotlight for the very unorthodox methods used by journalist Martin Bashir to get Diana to talk to him. A recent inquiry has shown this, and last week the BBC returned again to bend down on the matter, apologizing (no less than Charles of England and his two children) and paying another large indemnity, in this case, Alexandra Pettifer (known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke), who was the prince’s nanny at the time, for the “serious personal consequences” the interview had for her: Bashir told the princess that the nanny was having an affair with Prince Charles and that after becoming pregnant, she had an abortion. It was all a lie, a deception to scare her even more into speaking on camera. But the entire network took almost 30 years to get to know and clean up.
However, the apology from the public authority is not enough for all those affected. The one who doesn’t stop buying the BBC version is Earl Spencer, brother of Diana of Wales, who insists there must be a police inquiry to remove responsibilities and that he even ended this interview at death of the Princess, which occurred less than two years later.
Charles Spencer himself has occasionally recounted and now insists how he was tricked by Bashir, who used him to convince his sister to talk to him. Now he explains it in a long letter, which he personally signs and which was published in the newspaper on Sunday 24 July The Post on Sunday. In it, he explains how Bashir wrote to him when he didn’t know him, but the BBC showed him “the utmost respect” and that he knew it panorama it was “his emblem,” so he trusted him and decided to give him a chance to see himself. “What Bashir told me was shocking: a series of stories so extraordinary that when he left I called the executive producer panorama to confirm that everything was right and that he was a person I could trust,” he recalls.
In the weeks that followed, the journalist, who was ill today and was separated from the public broadcaster, showed him account statements that later investigations revealed were forged. They revealed that Diana’s bodyguards allegedly received money for spying on her. It was all a lie, the only purpose was to make the princess even more scared, cornered and decided to speak up. “She felt extremely vulnerable at the time,” Spencer recalls of her little sister today. “I’ve seen some of his secrets, shared only with his closest friends, come to light in the press. Looking back, I think he was one of the first victims of wiretapping,” he reflects.
The now Count Spencer was the one who introduced Bashir and his sister in September 1995, and from the first moment he saw there were “major differences” between what he had told him and what the journalist later told the princess told. In fact, Charles apologized to her for wasting her time and thought that was the story until a few weeks later, not without surprise, he discovered that the network had started announcing the interview would be aired.
The late princess’ elder brother affirms that he always wondered how it came about that this conversation was broadcast, because in his opinion higher officials were involved, more responsible people who knew that Diana had spoken to Bashir. Back in 2005, when the interview was a decade old and the BBC wanted to count on him to celebrate this milestone, Charles Spencer wrote to the public body and its director-general to ask them not to do so because this program was under had been dishonest” and that he had proof for everything: “I never got an answer”. “One thing I do know for sure is that there’s a lot more that hasn’t been revealed, showing the even murkier depths to which the BBC stooped to get their interview with Diana. It’s about time this came out. I hope this goes to the police and I will be here to help them,” he says.
Diana’s interview in panorama was the subject of an inquiry in the first half of 2021 by former UK High Court judge John Dyson, who concluded that the BBC “failed to meet its high standards of integrity and transparency” when it received it, prompting itself the company apologized.
“The question I get asked all the time by people angry at what my sister went through is why the police haven’t pursued those involved in what I have been told by several respected attorneys to be clearly illegal and criminal behavior was described,” asks the Count in the letter. “I hope that the police will reconsider their responsibility in this matter. Only they have the power to get to the bottom of this horrific scandal that made Diana feel even more alone and exposed and made her abandon those who would have cared for her and protected her.”
According to the late Diana’s brother, had she decided to give an interview, she would always have had his full support. “But the horrific lies told to him by the BBC before the cameras started rolling meant he made it to the interview panorama with a false and distorted view of the situation she found herself in after being repeatedly deceived.” And here he links Bashir’s interview to the death of Lady Di, which took place 22 months later: “All of this made him to speak in a way that later left him vulnerable at the moment he needed it most. And all of those responsibilities need to be clarified.”