Princes William and Harry have condemned the BBC and the media culture after an independent inquiry concluded Thursday that former BBC reporter Martin Bashir had used “deceitful” means to secure his explosive 1995 interview with their late mother, Princess Diana.
The same inquiry also found that the BBC “fell short of its high standards of integrity and transparency” by covering up the deceitful practices, which involved forging documents to suggest that aides close to her were speaking to the press.
In a video posted on social media, Prince William (aka the Duke of Cambridge) said the BBC had played on his mother’s fears “and fueled [her] paranoia” in their efforts to obtain the interview, in which Diana ultimately excoriated the royal family.
“It is my view that the deceitful way that the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said,” William said. “The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”
The prince said he had “indescribable sadness” to know that “the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia, and isolation.”
William said he believed the interview contained a “false narrative” and should not be aired again.
In a separate statement, Prince Harry condemned what he called a “culture of exploitation and unethical practices” in the media that led to his mother’s death — which he said is still prevalent.
“Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest,” Harry said in a statement Thursday in response to the inquiry’s findings. “The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.
“To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it. That is the first step towards justice and truth,” he continued.
“Yet what deeply concerns me is that practices like these — and even worse — are still widespread today. Then, and now, it’s bigger than one outlet, one network, or one publication.
“Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed,” Harry said. “By protecting her legacy, we protect everyone, and uphold the dignity with which she lived her life. Let’s remember who she was and what she stood for.”
In his own explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year, Harry said he was afraid the media would be responsible for the death of his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (aka Meghan Markle), after she became suicidal while pregnant with their son Archie as a result of the intense and, they said, unfair media coverage from the UK tabloids.
“My biggest concern was history repeating itself,” he said. “I’ve said that before on numerous occasions, very publicly. And what I was seeing was history repeating itself, but more, perhaps, or definitely far more dangerous, because then you add race in, and you add social media in. And when I’m talking about history repeating itself, I’m talking about my mother.”
The BBC reported Thursday that its director-general, Tim Davie, had sent personal letters of apology to Harry, William, Prince Charles, and Earl Spencer for the deceit that took place behind the scenes of the interview.
According to the new inquiry, the findings of which were published Thursday, Bashir “deceived” Earl Spencer with false information in order to obtain an introduction to his royal sister, which he then used to get her to agree to an interview.
Then when this information first came to light, the BBC “covered up the investigations into how [Bashir] secured the interview and the propriety of the methods he employed.”