Brother of Princess Diana criticises probe over interview

LONDON • Princess Diana's brother has criticised a BBC probe into claims she was tricked into an explosive interview, in which she spoke about her crumbling marriage.

Prince William, Diana's elder son, had welcomed the investigation into the 1995 interview, saying it "should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time".

But Diana's brother, Mr Charles Spencer, tweeted last Friday that he was "not at all satisfied with the parameters" of the probe into the interview by BBC journalist Martin Bashir for the Panorama show.

Mr Spencer has alleged Mr Bashir showed him faked documents about how Diana's staff were betraying her, how her husband was cheating and how she was being spied on, to convince her to grant the interview.

The BBC announced last Wednesday the immediate start of an investigation led by Lord Dyson, a former senior British judge, into the events surrounding the interview.

Mr Spencer questioned the scope of the inquiry, saying Lord Dyson should "be free to examine every aspect of this matter, from 1995 to today, as he sees fit".

Prince Harry, William's younger brother who is in California, has not publicly commented on the investigation.

The probe will focus on Mr Bashir, who has been accused of using underhand means of convincing Diana to speak to him. It will also consider mocked-up bank statements detailing purported payments from one of Mr Spencer's former employees to members of the royal staff.

Mr Bashir, 57, who is now the BBC's religious affairs editor, has not responded to the latest claims. The BBC said he was unwell after contracting the coronavirus and is also recovering from heart surgery.

Mr Bashir's interview with Diana, broadcast 25 years ago, was watched by 22.8 million people.

Diana, who would divorce Prince Charles - the heir to the British throne - in 1996, detailed their collapsing marriage.

She famously said "there were three people" in her marriage - her, Charles and his long-time lover Camilla Parker-Bowles - and also revealed she had been unfaithful.

Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Charles and Camilla were married in 2005.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2020, with the headline 'Brother of Princess Diana criticises probe over interview'. Print Edition | Subscribe