During the autumn of 1995, Diana, Princess of Wales, gave an hour-long interview to journalist Martin Bashir that, for decades, was thought to be "her truth, her terms." The BBC Panorama exchange was revealed to be anything but that during a 2021 inquest, and now new details are emerging thanks to a judge's order that the network colossus release some 3,000 emails pertaining to how Bashir manipulated the late royal and how executives worked to conceal it.
Bashir's alleged forging of fake documents to persuade an emotional Princess of Wales to "tell her side" in her bitter separation from a then-Prince Charles was later recreated in the fifth season of Netflix's The Crown, which exposed the scandal to an even wider audience.
In one email from July 20, 2020, nearly 25 years after the interview, Bashir wrote to the BBC's head of history: "I am sorry to hear that this so-called 'forgery' story has reared its head again. It played no part in the interview but did allow professional jealousy, particularly within the corporation, to hang its hat on alleged wrongdoing."
Bashir then alleged claims of possible racism, by adding: "At the time, it was also apparent that there was some irritation that a second-generation immigrant of non-white, working-class roots should have the temerity to enter a royal palace and conduct an interview. It would have been so much easier if one of the dynastic families (Dimbleby et al) had done it!"
"The two Princes' trust in, not just the BBC, but the whole media collapsed, and it may well be tragically what's led to Prince Harry ending up taking the course that he's taken," Richard Tice, the leader of the Reform U.K. political movement, told GB News' Andrew Pierce. "So the consequences, the domino effect, the course of history has been changed by this one single interview."
Pierce replied: "The red tops behaved pretty badly with the royals back in back in the day, we know that. But who was leading the charge against the red tops, the pompous — pious BBC. And they are probably guilty of one of the worst cover-ups in journalism."
The BBC shared a statement which read: "Throughout this process, we have taken our responsibilities to comply with the directions of the Tribunal extremely seriously. Therefore we've today released approximately 3,000 documents — some 10,000 pages — to Mr Webb. This latest disclosure includes many hundreds of pages of duplicates and material that was not related to the 1995 Panorama [interview] but was nevertheless caught by electronic searches."
The message continued: "We have made redactions, where necessary, consistent with the Freedom of Information Act."