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BBC to pay ‘substantial damages’ to Prince William, Prince Harry’s ex-nanny over ‘deceitful’ interview

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Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as their father Prince Charles, have received a public apology from BBC director general Tim Davie over their mother Princess Diana’s infamous 1995 interview.

The late royal was interviewed by journalist Martin Bashir for the network’s “Panorama” program. An independent investigation conducted by Lord Dyson concluded that the public broadcaster “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.” The report also found that Bashir used “deceitful behavior” to gain access to Diana, including allegedly forging documents.

One method used to gain access to Diana included the allegation that William and Harry’s former nanny, Alexandra Pettifer, also known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, had an affair with Charles. Pettifer went on to file a defamation claim in the London High Court, which she won on Tuesday.

After the ruling, Davie issued a statement.

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Tiggy Pettifer, the former nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry, won her case on Tuesday.

Tiggy Pettifer, the former nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry, won her case on Tuesday.
(Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

“Following publication of the Dyson Report last year we have been working with those who suffered as a result of the deceitful tactics used by the BBC in the pursuit of its interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for the ‘Panorama’ program in 1995, including the matters that were mentioned in court today in respect of Miss Tiggy Legge-Bourke, now Mrs. Alexandra Pettifer,” the statement read.

“The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs. Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize publicly to her, to The Prince of Wales [Charles], and to the Dukes of Cambridge [William] and Sussex [Harry]for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives,” Davie shared.

“It is a matter of great regret that the BBC did not get to the facts in the immediate aftermath of the program when there were warning signs that the interview might have been obtained improperly,” the statement continued. “Instead, as The Duke of Cambridge himself put it, the BBC failed to ask the tough questions. Had we done our job properly Princess Diana would have known the truth during her lifetime. We let her, The Royal Family and our audiences down.

“Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained. I have decided that the BBC will never show the program again; nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters. It does of course remain part of the historical record and There may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts for journalistic purposes, but these will be few and far between and will need to be agreed at Executive Committee level and set in the full context of what we now know about the way the interview was obtained. I would urge others to exercise similar restraint.”

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Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program 'Panorama'.

Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program ‘Panorama’.
(Photo by © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

In May 2021, Bashir said he was “deeply sorry,” but denied that the interview was responsible for any harm to Diana.

“I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don’t believe we did,” the journalist told the Sunday Times. “Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents … My family and I loved her.”

The report concluded that Bashir “commissioned fake bank statements” that allowed him to get access to Diana by deceiving her brother, Charles Spencer, to arrange a meeting in which Diana was later persuaded to take part in the 1995 interview.

Bashir has admitted to showing Spencer the forged documents, for which he said he was “deeply sorry,” but claims had “no bearing” on Diana or the interview.

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A selection of front pages of most of Britains's national newspapers showing their reaction to Princess Diana's television interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir.  Prince William and his brother Prince Harry have issued strongly-worded statements criticizing the BBC and British media for unethical practices after an investigation found that Bashir used

A selection of front pages of most of Britains’s national newspapers showing their reaction to Princess Diana’s television interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir. Prince William and his brother Prince Harry have issued strongly-worded statements criticizing the BBC and British media for unethical practices after an investigation found that Bashir used “deceitful behavior” to secure Princess Diana’s most explosive TV interview in 1995.
(AP Photo/Martin Cleaver)

Diana famously said during the interview that there were “three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” Following the revelations, Queen Elizabeth II issued a statement recommending Diana and Prince Charles seek a divorce. The marriage officially ended on August 28, 1996. On Aug. 31, 1997, Diana died in a car accident in Paris while being chased by the paparazzi. She was 36.

Diana’s sons have both suggested Bashir’s interview directly contributed to the Princess of Wales’ untimely death.

“The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others,” William, 40, previously said in a video statement. “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’d been deceived.”

Harry echoed his brother’s comments in a separate statement, noting that the “ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.”

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Martin Bashir has since stepped down from his role as the BBC's editor of religion.

Martin Bashir has since stepped down from his role as the BBC’s editor of religion.
(Photo by Fiona Hanson – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

“Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed,” the 37-year-old added. “By protecting her legacy, we protect everyone, and uphold the dignity with which she lived her life. Let’s remember who she was and what she stood for.”

Bashir has since stepped down from his role as the BBC’s editor of religion and issued a statement apologizing for his conduct. BBC’s director of news and current affairs at the time, Tony Hall, has also stepped aside following the investigation.

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