prince-william

Prince William breaks silence on Martin Bashir's Panorama interview with Princess Diana

An independent probe will take place

Gemma Strong

Prince William has responded to news that an investigation will be held into the BBC's controversial Panorama interview with Princess Diana. The royal tentatively welcomed the move, saying "it should help establish the truth behind the actions" that led to the programme. He further described the probe as a "step in the right direction".

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The BBC has appointed Lord Dyson to lead the investigation, which will seek to discover the steps that the broadcaster and interviewer Martin Bashir took in order to land the interview with the late Princess.

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In a statement, her eldest son William said: "The independent investigation is a step in the right direction. It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time."

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The investigation comes after Diana's younger brother, Earl Spencer, claimed he was shown "false bank statements" by Mr Bashir and that those statements were used to help the reported gain access to the Princess.

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An investigation is being held into the controversial Panorama interview

The investigation will consider if the steps taken by the BBC and Mr Bashir were appropriate and to what extent those actions influenced Diana's decision to give an interview.

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It will also investigate what knowledge the BBC had in 1995 and 1996 of "mocked up bank statements purporting to show payments to a former employee of Earl Spencer (and) the purported payments to members of the Royal Households", the corporation said.

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Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced in 1996

Diana sent shockwaves through the monarchy after the bombshell interview, which included candid details about her marriage and Prince Charles's rumoured relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, his now wife. A month later, the Queen urged the separated couple to divorce, which they did in 1996.

The Princess tragically died in 1997 in a car crash in Paris.

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Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, has said: "The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation.

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The Princess pictured with her boys, William and Harry

"Formerly Master of the Rolls and a Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Dyson is an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process."

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Lord Dyson said: "This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair."

Mr Bashir, who now works as the religion editor at the BBC, is currently signed off from work. A statement from the BBC confirmed: "He is currently recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery and has significant complications from having contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year."

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