The BBC Has Apologised For Princess Diana’s Panorama Interview
The broadcaster has vowed to pay damages and never air the interview again.
In 2021, an independent inquiry known as the Dyson Report concluded that the BBC had fallen short of “high standards of integrity and transparency” in its securing of Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Princess Diana in 1995. The investigation was launched after the late Princess of Wales's brother, Earl Spencer, accused the BBC of “sheer dishonesty” and unethical journalism. Now, the BBC has apologised for Princess Diana’s Panorama interview and vowed to never air it again.
In a statement published on July 21, BBC Director-General, Tim Davie, publicly apologised to Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, and the Duke of Cambridge’s former nanny, Mrs. Alexandra Pettifer — the latter of whom will be paid “substantial damages” — for the way in which the interview was conducted and obtained, and for its damaging aftermath.
“It is a matter of great regret that the BBC did not get to the facts in the immediate aftermath of the programme when there were warning signs that the interview might have been obtained improperly,” Davie said in a statement, adding that if the corporation had “done our job properly,” Princess Diana would have “known the truth during her lifetime.”
The statement continued, “Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again.”
As mentioned, the BBC agreed to pay damages to Prince William’s childhood nanny Mrs. Pettifer, formerly known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke. Pettifer previously settled a defamation claim against the BBC after being subjected to false rumours that she had engaged in an affair with Prince Charles.
In a statement, Pettifer said she was “disappointed that it needed legal action for the BBC to recognise the serious harm I have been subjected to.” Per Radio Times, she continued, “The distress caused to the royal family is a source of great upset to me.”
In 2021, Prince William and Prince Harry both released statements condemning the BBC’s handling of their late mother’s Panorama interview. “It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia, and isolation,” the Duke of Cambridge said, while the Duke of Sussex stated, “the ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.”