Martin Bashir says he "never wanted to harm" Princess Diana with interview

·3-min read

Martin Bashir has said he "never wanted to harm" Princess Diana with his Panorama interview, and doesn't believe he did.

An independent inquiry recently concluded that the journalist used deception to secure the interview.

Bashir added that he was "deeply sorry" to her sons, the dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, during an interview with The Sunday Times.

"I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don't believe we did," he told the newspaper. "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."

He denied Prince William's criticism that the interview exacerbated her paranoia, affirming that was "close" to Diana and he "loved" her, and that they remained friends long after the programme was televised in 1995. He also recalled Diana visiting his wife in a hospital in south London hospital on the day she gave birth to the couple's third child.

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

On having showed Diana's brother Earl Spencer forged bank statements, he admitted: "Obviously I regret it, it was wrong. But it had no bearing on anything. It had no bearing on [Diana], it had no bearing on the interview."

He also claimed that even around the early 1990s, there were stories and secretly recorded phone calls and he "wasn't the source of any of that".

Meanwhile, Earl Spencer has condemned Bashir's actions to Panorama, saying he "draws a line" between meeting Bashir and his sister's death.

Responding to his comments, Bashir continued: "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."

On whether he is able to forgive himself, he replied: "That's a really difficult question because it was a serious error. I hope that people will allow me the opportunity to show that I am properly repentant of what happened."

Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive
Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive

The inquiry, led by Lord Dyson, found that Bashir had commissioned fake bank statements to secure the exclusive – a "serious breach" of the BBC’s editorial guidelines. In the wake of the inquiry, Prince William has criticised the BBC and called the interview "deceitful", saying it "ultimately took her life".

In a video statement, the duke said it was "major contribution to making my parents' relationship worse", adding it has "since hurt countless others".

"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," he said. "But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived."

"Without justification, the BBC fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark," the report found.

The earl has asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate the BBC.

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