Prince William has welcomed an investigation into a BBC Panorama interview with his mother, saying it “should help establish the truth behind the actions” that led to the controversial programme.
According to The Independent, the Duke of Cambridge said the probe into Martin Bashir’s television appearance with Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1995 was a “step in the right direction”.
Princess Diana’s Panorama interview
The Panorama interview is probably considered to be one of the late princess’ most famous interviews. In the interview, Diana revealed everything from her struggles with bulimia to confirming that she knew about her husband’s extramarital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. “There were three of us in this marriage,” she memorably said, “so it was a bit crowded.”
Now, the BBC has appointed Lord Dyson, former Master of the Rolls, to lead the inquiry, which will begin imminently and seek to discover what steps the broadcaster and Bashir took to land the interview. The Times went as far as to claim that Bashir exploited the fears of Diana and her brother, Charles Spencer, by faking bank documents to convince them that someone on Diana’s royal staff was leaking information about her private life to the media. These documents served as the catalyst for Spencer to encourage Diana to participate in the interview.
“This is an important investigation which I will start straight away,” Dyson said. “I will ensure it is both thorough and fair.”
This investigation also comes after Spencer, earlier this month, blasted the BBC for “whitewashing” Bashir’s “yellow journalism” tactics to secure the interview. “The BBC have yet to apologize for what truly matters here: the incredibly serious falsification of bank statements suggesting that Diana’s closest confidants were spying on her for her enemies,” he said in a statement to People on 3 November.
“The BBC have so far refused to acknowledge the above.” Spencer added it was “sheer dishonesty” that the BBC’s 1996 internal investigation found that the alleged fake documents had “no bearing” on Diana’s motivations for the interview.
In the interview, which the full transcript can be accessed on the BBC’s website, the princess opened up about her bulimia.
“I had bulimia for a number of years. And that’s like a secret disease. You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable. You fill your stomach up four or five times a day – some do it more – and it gives you a feeling of comfort. It’s like having a pair of arms around you, but it’s temporarily, temporary. Then you’re disgusted at the bloatedness of your stomach, and then you bring it all up again. And it’s a repetitive pattern which is very destructive to yourself.”
She said that she and Prince Charles “had unique pressures put upon us” when they first married and that they “both tried our hardest to cover them up, but obviously it wasn’t to be”.
“I think everybody was very anxious because they could see there were complications but didn’t want to interfere,” she said further.