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Princess Diana’s brother will ‘feel semi-vindicated’ if BBC apologises over Panorama interview

Sam Hancock
·3-min read
Diana’s younger brother spoke on ITV’s Lorraine this morning (YouTube/Lorraine)
Diana’s younger brother spoke on ITV’s Lorraine this morning (YouTube/Lorraine)

Earl Spencer has said he will feel "semi-vindicated” if he receives an apology from the BBC over a controversial interview with Princess Diana.

Diana’s brother appeared on ITV’s Lorraine on Wednesday to speak about the new investigation into the Panorama interview which aired 25 years ago.

Earl Spencer has previously alleged he was shown “false bank statements” by Martin Bashir, who conducted the interview, which were used to help him gain access to the royal.

The BBC has appointed Lord Dyson, a retired judge and former Master of the Rolls, to lead the probe — after an initial investigation in 1996 found there had been no wrongdoing by either Mr Bashir or the BBC.

Earl Spencer told presenter Lorraine Kelly the BBC had some “very, very serious questions to answer on this” and he was “happy” to stick up for his sister because “Diana always stood up for me”.

He stressed his intention was not to judge whether the princess “should or shouldn’t have spoken” — which he said was "something separate” — but to get answers to “fair questions” which have been “25 years” in the making.

There has been renewed interest in the scandal around the time of interview’s 25th anniversary, which fell on 20 November this year.

In the interview, Diana spoke candidly for the first time about her marital issues with the Prince of Wales.

After details were leaked to the press in 1996 about the methods Mr Bashir used to get Diana to agree to the the televised conversation — including his use of mocked-up financial records to win the trust of Earl Spencer — Tony Hall, then the BBC’s head of news, launched an investigation in which he concluded the journalist simply “wasn’t thinking”.

<p>Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for ‘Panorama’ in 1995 </p>Corbis/Getty

Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for ‘Panorama’ in 1995

Corbis/Getty

The BBC has been accused of making the graphic designer who made the fake documents for Mr Bashir the “fall guy".

That designer, Matt Wiessler, appeared in the recent ITV documentary The Diana Interview, Revenge of a Princess and said Mr Bashir asked him to make the falsified bank statements. He told producers he was under the impression he was making mock-ups for “some kind of filming purposes”.

Mr Wiessler is seeking an official apology from the broadcaster.

The Panorama interview rocked the royal family after Diana alluded to Prince Charles’ affair with his now-wife Camilla Parker-Bowles and questioned his ability to be king.

“Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” she told Mr Bashir.

On Lorraine on Wednesday morning, Earl Spencer said the documents “really shook me up” when he was shown them by Mr Bashir. He said they were not “just confirmation of what had happened behind the scenes but also who knew and why it hadn’t come out and why it hadn't been dealt with”.

Mr Bashir, currently the BBC’s religious editor, has remained silent on the renewed accusations, the BBC citing “serious” illness as the reason for him remaining out of the spotlight.

Diana’s eldest son William, Duke of Cambridge, welcomed news of the investigation last week, saying it “should help establish the truth behind the actions” that led to the programme.

The BBC says Diana wrote a note saying she did not see the false bank statements and that they played no part in her decision to give the interview.

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