BBC Director General Tim Davie has issued a public apology to Prince Charles and his sons William and Harry over the infamous 1995 BBC Princess Diana ‘Panorama’ interview.
Princess Diana was interviewed by journalist Martin Bashir on the programme. An independent investigation into the programme, conducted by Lord Dyson, found that the public broadcaster “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.”
According to Variety, the Dyson report also found that Bashir used deceitful methods to gain access to Princess Diana, including allegedly forging documents.
The methods also included allegations that William and Harry’s former nanny Alexandra Pettifer, better known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, had an affair with Charles. Pettifer filed a defamation claim in the London High Court, which she won on Thursday.
Shortly after the court ruling, Davie issued a statement.
“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 pursuit of its interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for the Panorama programme in 1995, including the matters that were mentioned in court today in respect of Miss Tiggy Legge-Bourke, now Mrs. Alexandra Pettifer.”
“The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs. Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise 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.
“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.”
“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 programme 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.”