Prince William has broken his silence on the report that came out on Thursday, May 20, which declared that Martin Bashir "deceived" his way to accessing Princess Diana for his famous 1995 interview.
"I would like to thank Lord Dyson and his team for the report. It is welcome that the BBC accepts Lord Dyson’s findings in full – which are extremely concerning – that BBC employees: lied and used fake documents to obtain the interview with my mother; made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family which played on her fears and fuelled paranoia; displayed woeful incompetence when investigating complaints and concerns about the programme; and were evasive in their reporting to the media and covered up what they knew from their internal investigation," the statement, which was obtained by The Royal Observer, began.
The note continued, "It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said. The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others. It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her. But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived."
"She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions. It is my firm view that this Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again. It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised by the BBC and others. This settled narrative now needs to be addressed by the BBC and anyone else who has written or intends to write about these events. In an era of fake news, public service broadcasting and a free press have never been more important. These failings, identified by investigative journalists, not only let my mother down, and my family down; they let the public down too," the statement concluded.
Earlier in the day, former High Court judge Lord John Dyson, revealed that Bashir had created two false bank statements in order to secure the manipulate Diana into giving the interview.
Lord Dyson said the BBC "fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark."
“The report demonstrates, I believe, that this has been the thorough and fair investigation I set out to do,” Dyson said. “All key individuals gave comprehensive testimony and I am grateful for their cooperation. It enabled my investigation to establish facts based on evidence and for me to draw the detailed conclusions that have been set out today.”
BBC Director-General Tim Davie apologized on behalf of the network.
“Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect. We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings,” Davie said.
He continued, “While today’s BBC has significantly better processes and procedures, those that existed at the time should have prevented the interview being secured in this way. The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time and been more transparent about what it knew. While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC offers that today."
For his part, Bashir said: "This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago. I apologized then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up. It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret," Bashir, who stepped down from the BBC last week, told the Evening Standard.