LONDON – Prince William has hailed an investigation into how the UK public broadcaster obtained an explosive interview with his mother, Princess Diana, 25 years ago, following accusations she was cheated on.
Late Wednesday, the prince’s office released a statement saying the Duke of Cambridge had “tentatively hosted” an independent investigation into the 1995 BBC Panorama interview with his mother.
“The independent investigation is a step in the right direction,” William said in the statement.
“This should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and the subsequent decisions made by those at the BBC at the time. “
The landmark interview, watched by 20 million people at the time, shocked the nation as Diana shared intimate details about her failed marriage to heir to the throne, Prince Charles.
The investigation will be led by a former Supreme Court justice, the BBC said in a statement on Wednesday, and will look into how the broadcaster got the interview and whether the executives covered up wrongdoing.
“The BBC is determined to find out the truth about these events,” said BBC Managing Director Tim Davie. “That’s why we commissioned an independent investigation. “
The broadcaster said the investigation would begin immediately and hand over all relevant documents and issue a report upon its conclusion.
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Two years before Diana’s death in 1997 in a car crash in a tunnel in Paris, she gripped a nation fascinated with glimpses of royal life within when she shared the details of her ill-fated marriage.
She told correspondent Martin Bashir that “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” a reference to Charles rekindling his relationship with his now second wife, Camilla.
The BBC interview was re-examined this month after a new documentary, “Diana’s Interview: A Princess’s Revenge,” claimed that Bashir used dishonest tactics to gain the trust of the princess.
He claimed that Bashir, currently the BBC’s religion editor after working for a while at ABC News and MSNBC, had a graphic designer create fake bank statements, which he allegedly used to convince the brother of Diana that royal employees were being paid to spy on her.
Bashir has not spoken publicly about the latest allegations and has not responded to an NBC News request for comment.
He is currently recovering from heart surgery and complications from Covid-19, the BBC said in a statement.
An internal BBC investigation after the original show concluded that Bashir did not force Diana to give the interview. The new investigation is also responsible for examining this investigation.
The Sunday release of the fourth season of Netflix’s “The Crown”, which premieres the character of Diana, also increased international interest in her life.
Reuters contributed to this report.