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BBC "unconditionally" apologizes for mistakes

An independent investigation has opened into Princess Diana's interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir. The result: The BBC did not meet its "high standards for integrity and transparency".

The famous interview that Princess Diana (1961-1997) gave the BBC journalist Martin Bashir (58) in 1995 was considered the "Scoop of the Century". But there was always criticism of the way the interview came about, including from Diana's brother Charles Spencer (57). The journalist is said to have sneaked the interview through forged documents. The British broadcaster BBC then launched an independent investigation and presented the results this Thursday (May 20th).

According to Spencer, forged documents were the only reason he introduced Bashir to his sister. These were bank statements that were supposed to prove that employees of the royal family had sold stories about Diana and arranged for her to be observed. In addition, in a meeting before the interview, the journalist made a number of false claims about various senior royals in order to gain Spencer's trust and gain access to his sister.

The investigation, led by Lord John Dyson, 77, a former Supreme Court Justice, confirmed that Bashir had forged documents to get the interview. The BBC, in turn, "failed to meet its high standards of integrity and transparency." According to the investigation report, the journalist has already apologized for his misconduct, but emphasized that it had no influence on Diana's decision to be interviewed. To this day he is "immensely proud" of the interview.

BBC admits mistakes

For this purpose, the note that the princess had written to Bashir in December 1995 was published for the first time in the report. Lord Dyson said Bashir found the note during a search of his home in November 2020 and passed it on to the BBC. The note states: "Martin Bashir did not show me any documents or give me any information that I was not previously aware of."

Although the report said that Princess Diana was interested in the idea of ​​an interview with the BBC, it was clear that the process of securing the interview did not meet the standards that viewers could expect, explains BBC boss Tim Davie (54) in a statement. "While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can only apologize fully and unconditionally."

The incident had already been investigated internally in 1996. Bashir had been acquitted of any wrongdoing at the time for failing to use the forged documents in the interview. In the interview, the Princess of Wales unpacked, among other things, about her then husband Prince Charles (72), her bulimia, her affair with James Hewitt (63) and her rival Camilla Parker Bowles (73) ("There were three of us in this marriage , so it was a bit tight. ").

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