The Duke of Cambridge has accused BBC employees of making “lurid and false claims” about the royal family in order to obtain an interview with his late mother, Princess Diana.
An independent inquiry into Diana’s 1996 ‘Panorama’ interview concluded on Thursday that interviewer Martin Bashir had used forged bank statements to secure access to the Princess of Wales in 1995 and that the BBC was “woefully ineffective” in getting to the bottom of his wrongdoing at the time.
And following the news, Diana’s eldest son Prince William has issued a statement in which he slammed the broadcaster for “failing” his mother, and said they “not only let my mother down, and my family down; they let the public down too”.
In a two-minute video published to social media, William said: “I would like to thank Lord Dyson and his team for the report.
A statement on today’s report of The Dyson Investigation pic.twitter.com/uS62CNwiI8
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 20, 2021
“It is welcome that the BBC accepts Lord Dyson’s findings in full – which are extremely concerning – that BBC employees lied and used fake documents to obtain the interview with my mother. Made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family which played on her fears and fuelled paranoia. 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.”
William went on to say the interview was a “major contribution” to the breakdown of his mother’s marriage to his father, Prince Charles, and accused the BBC of “contributing significantly” to Diana’s “fear and paranoia” that accompanied her until her death in a car crash in 1997.
He continued: “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.”
The 38-year-old royal argued the interview should “never be aired again”, before slamming the “false narrative” it created.
He concluded: “It is my firm view that this Panorama programme 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 commercialised by the BBC and others.
“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.”