How famous is the BBC
Well over 20 million people are believed to have been watching television in the UK on November 5, 1995, when Diana, Princess of Wales, spoke about her marriage to Prince Charles. The figures fluctuate between 23 and 26 million viewers, at least that was almost half of the British population at the time, and of course the interview was also on TV in Eton, the upper class college that Diana's and Charles' son William attended. You don't need the speculation of the British media to imagine what it must have been like for the thirteen-year-old to watch his mother talk about her affairs with half the country, about his father's mistress. The interview was recorded in the living room at Kensington Palace.
"This interview," said William, "has done a lot to worsen my parents' relationship," and it hurt "countless other" people. The Duke of Cambridge, now 38 years old, rarely speaks publicly about personal matters, which is all the more remarkable was his appearance, which lasted just over two minutes, in which he read a prepared statement. In his view, the "fraudulent circumstances" under which the interview took place had a major impact on what his mother said on camera. It makes him "incredibly sad" to know that "the failure of the BBC has contributed significantly to the fears, paranoia and isolation that I have remembered with her over the past few years".
His brother, Prince Harry, went even further: the effects of this "culture of exploitation" would have "ultimately taken her life" from Diana. Our mother, said Harry, "died because of all of this and nothing has changed".
Fake bank statements are said to have made Diana talk
On Thursday, the result of a commission of inquiry became known, which had examined the dubious circumstances surrounding the famous interview. The investigation was led by Lord John Dyson, once the first Supreme Court Justice in the United Kingdom who was not a member of the nobility.
Thanking Lord Dyson, said William that he and his team found that BBC staff "lied and forged documents, made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family, appalling incompetence in investigating complaints and broadcasting concerns have shown ", and then swept under the carpet the results of the internal investigation, translated accordingly. In fact, that sums up the Commission's finding quite well.
Martin Bashir, then a relatively young and unknown BBC reporter, is said to have had bank statements falsified to show that people from Diana's environment would have passed on private information to the tabloids for a fee; With this supposed evidence, Bashir is said to have convinced Diana's brother that it was time for her to defend herself publicly. The graphic artist who is said to have forged the excerpts contacted the BBC soon after they were broadcast, apparently because he had concerns, the report says. An internal investigation followed in which Bashir denied the incident.
Did the BBC executives know about the reporter's criminal activity - and ignore it?
The BBC manager was ultimately won over by a 38-word handwritten note by Diana, dated December 22, 1995, on letter paper at Kensington Palace, signed by Diana herself: She assured her that Bashir had not given her any false documents or exerted any pressure , and she doesn't regret giving the interview. Dyson had the letter examined and gave it to Diana's sons William and Harry to make sure it wasn't a forgery. What can no longer be clarified: how exactly the letter came about. And what Diana knew then about the so-called circumstances that are now at stake.
According to Dyson's report, during the course of the internal investigation, Bashir may have admitted the matter of the forged bank statements after all, which would make the matter even more delicate. Because that would mean that the BBC managers knew about Bashir's criminal activities - and ignored it. The fact that they didn't even question Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, made things even more difficult.
Martin Bashir is now 58 years old, he has had a more than decent career with US broadcasters and the BBC himself, last year he resigned due to corona disease and heart problems. The BBC apologized in a letter to the Queen, Prince Charles and William and Harry, and the station also wants to return the awards for the interview.
The damage that Bashir caused 26 years ago is unlikely to help them. Late on Thursday evening, Minister of Culture Oliver Dowden announced that he would examine the need for extensive restructuring of the public broadcaster.
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