British journalist Martin Bashir says he did not dupe Princess Diana into doing an interview with him for the BBC programme “Panorama” in 1995.
Just this week, the BBC released the results of their internal investigation — known as the Lord Dyson Report, named after the head of the inquiry — that looked into the circumstances of how Bashir obtained the interview with the late Princess of Wales. Lord Dyson concluded that Bashir did show forged bank statements to Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, insinuating that members of her staff were being paid by the media to sell stories about her. Lord Dyson found Bashir’s actions to be “devious and dishonest.”
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Dyson’s report also repeatedly referred to “lies” that Bashir told in the course of his interactions with Earl Spencer and Diana.
In a new interview with The Sunday Times, Bashir freely admits that he forged the bank statements and showed them to Earl Spencer but says those actions did not have any impact on Princess Diana. “Obviously I regret it, it was wrong,” he says of the forged docs. “But it had no bearing on anything. It had no bearing on [Diana], it had no bearing on the interview.”
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Bashir says he never showed the documents to Diana. He goes on to insist, “I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don’t believe we did. Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents … My family and I loved her.”
Bashir rejects the narrative put forth by Prince William, that the forged documents fueled his late mother’s paranoia and isolation in her final years. “Even in the early 1990s, there were stories and secretly recorded phone calls. I wasn’t the source of any of that,” Bashir says.
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And though he says he “can’t imagine” what Diana’s family “must feel each day”, he adds, “I don’t feel I can be held responsible for many of the other things that were going on in her life, and the complex issues surrounding those decisions.”
Responding to Earl Spencer’s insinuation that Bashir’s actions can be directly connected to Diana’s death in 1997, Bashir says, “I can understand the motivation [of Earl Spencer’s comments] but to channel the tragedy, the difficult relationship between the royal family and the media purely on to my shoulders feels a little unreasonable … The suggestion I am singularly responsible I think is unreasonable and unfair.”