Earl Spencer seeks wider inquiry into BBC interview with Diana

Princess’s brother says investigation should be free to examine every aspect of 1995 Martin Bashir interview

Earl Spencer has said he is “not at all satisfied” with the scope of the BBC’s investigation into the 1995 Panorama interview with his sister Princess Diana.

The news came as a source close to Prince Harry said he is “getting regular updates” about the inquiry into journalist Martin Bashir’s conduct in arranging the landmark show.

The investigation will consider if the steps taken by the corporation and Bashir were appropriate and to what extent those actions influenced Princess Diana’s decision to give an interview in which she disclosed her marital problems with Prince Charles a year before their divorce.

It will also examine what knowledge the BBC had in 1995 and 1996 of “mocked up bank statements purporting to show payments to a former employee of Earl Spencer [and] the purported payments to members of the Royal Households”, the corporation said.

The broadcaster has appointed a retired judge, Lord Dyson, former master of the rolls, to lead the investigation.

Spencer previously alleged he was shown “false bank statements” by Bashir and they were used to help the reporter gain an introduction to the princess.

He tweeted on Friday night: “As I’ve told the BBC this evening, I’m not at all satisfied with the parameters they’ve set around their enquiry into the BBC Panorama interview with Diana of 25 years ago tonight. Lord Dyson must be free to examine every aspect of this matter, from 1995 to today, as he sees fit.”

It came as a source close to Prince Harry said reports in the press about his public silence on the Panorama interview were attempts to “drive a wedge between” him and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge.

The source, in comments reported by several media outlets, said: “Harry is getting regular updates and is aware of everything that is happening.

“You do not need a public statement to imagine how he is feeling privately, people know how much his mother means to him.”

The source added: “He has bravely spoken out in the past about loss and grief, and the immense impact it has had on him.

“Sadly, some people are not just seeing this as a drive for truth, but also trying to use this as an opportunity to try to drive a wedge between the brothers.”

On Thursday, Prince William publicly welcomed the investigation into the interview, describing it as a “step in the right direction”.

The BBC has insisted that the investigation has a sufficiently broad scope. A spokesman said: “The review is fully independent and the terms are suitably broad and wide-ranging.

“We hope that everyone will support Lord Dyson’s work in establishing the truth.”

Last week the corporation said it had found a handwritten note from Princess Diana stating she did not see the false bank statements and they played no part in her decision to grant Bashir the interview.

The BBC said Bashir, its religious affairs editor, is signed off from work relating to a coronavirus infection earlier this year and a quadruple heart bypass. As a result he is unable to answer questions relating to the incident.


Nadeem Badshah

The GuardianTramp

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