Martin Bashir, the BBC reporter who deceived Princess Diana into giving her an explosive interview, apologized to Princes William and Harry on Sunday but said claims linking his actions to her death were “unreasonable”.
A report by retired Senior Judge John Dyson released Thursday found that Bashir had ordered fake bank statements that falsely suggested that some of Diana’s closest associates were being paid by security services to monitor her.
Bashir, 58, then showed them to Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, in an attempt to convince him to set up a meeting between him and Diana and gain her trust.
Bashir told The Sunday Times he was “deeply sorry” for Diana’s sons Prince William and Prince Harry.
“I never meant to harm Diana in any way and I don’t think we did,” he told the newspaper.
But William said Bashir’s actions and the interview made “a major contribution” to the demise of his parents’ relationship and “contributed significantly to his fear, paranoia and isolation” during of his last years.
In his own release, Harry said deceptive practices played a role in his mother’s death.
“The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately cost him his life,” he said.
Diana died in a car accident in Paris in 1997, at the age of 36.
Bashir disputed the charges, saying, “I don’t think I can be held responsible for most of the other things that were going on in his life and the complex issues surrounding those decisions.
“I think the suggestion that I am particularly responsible is unreasonable and unfair,” he told the newspaper.
– ‘I loved it’ –
He argued that the 1995 interview was conducted on Diana’s terms and that they remained good friends after it aired to an audience of 22.8 million people.
# photo1 “My family and I loved her,” he said, revealing that Diana visited Bashir’s wife and newborn baby in the hospital and the princess threw a party. birthday for his eldest at Kensington Palace.
Bashir said he regretted showing Diana’s brother false documents, but that it had “no bearing” on the revelations released during the interview.
In it, Diana said: “there were three people” in her marriage – her, Charles and his longtime mistress and now wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles – and also admitted adultery.
Bashir was little known at the time, but went on to have a high profile career on American television networks and interviewed stars such as Michael Jackson.
The pop singer’s family also blamed Bashir for his death, saying the fallout from the interview led him to become increasingly dependent on drugs.
Bashir worked for the BBC as religion editor until he resigned last week citing poor health, hours before Dyson’s report was submitted to BBC bosses.
Former BBC chief Tony Hall, whom Dyson criticized for his 1996 “woefully ineffective” investigation into Bashir’s deception, resigned as chairman of Britain’s National Gallery on Saturday.
# photo2A government review of the BBC’s funding and governance is due next year, which Home Secretary Priti Patel called a “very, very important moment” on Sunday.
“There is no doubt that trust has been shaken, and now it is time for the BBC to really reflect on the findings of this report and rebuild that trust and confidence,” she told Sky News.
© 2021 AFP