Prince William and Prince Harry issued separate, emotionally charged statements on Thursday, slamming the BBC and now-former BBC journalist Martin Bashir for the “deceitful way” the outlet obtained an interview with their mother, the late Princess Diana, in 1995.
Harry, the Duke of Sussex, said in a statement shared with HuffPost that “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 said. “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.”
He added that, “Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed.
“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.”
The duke’s comments come after Lord John Dyson, a former judge, conducted a months-long investigation into Bashir and the BBC’s conduct. Dyson’s findings, compiled in a 127-page report, concluded that the network “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.”
William, the Duke of Cambridge, said in his own statement, released by Kensington Palace, that it was “welcome” that the network accepted the findings from Dyson’s investigation.
William said that BBC employees produced fake documents to secure Diana’s interview, “made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family which played on her fears and fueled paranoia,” and “were evasive in their reporting to the media and covered up what they knew from their internal investigation,” among other claims.
“It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said,” the Duke of Cambridge said. “The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”
He added, “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.”
William said that the interview “holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again” after it “established a false narrative” for over 25 years.
At the end of the statement, he said that “these failings, identified by investigative journalists, not only let my mother down, and my family down; they let the public down too.”
After the report was published on Thursday, BBC Chairman Richard Sharp said that the network would be writing to apologize to those involved in or indirectly affected by the interview, including Princes Charles, William and Harry, and Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer.
Spencer spoke about Bashir and the infamous interview in a program that aired on Thursday.
“Well, the irony is that I met Martin Bashir on the 31st of August 1995 — because exactly two years later she died,” Spencer says in a clip of the program. “And I do draw a line between the two events.”