Prince Harry has blasted journalist Martin Bashir and the BBC following an independent inquiry into the 1995 Panorama interview with his late mother Princess Diana, insisting the U.K. TV exclusive contributed to her death.
The sit-down remains one of the most explosive royal interviews in BBC history, and helped turn Bashir into a much-respected broadcaster, but on Thursday, former Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson concluded that Bashir made a "serious breach" of the BBC's editorial guidelines by creating false bank statements to manipulate the then-Princess of Wales and her brother, Earl Spencer, into giving the interview.
Lord Dyson said Bashir "deceived" his way to the interview, and suggested BBC bosses "fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark".
BBC bosses and Bashir have apologised for their conduct, and now Prince Harry has weighed in with a damning statement, suggesting the explosive interview was the beginning of the end for his mother, who died in a car crash in Paris, France, two years later.
"Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service," Harry said in a statement. "She was resilient, brave and unquestionably honest. 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. 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.
"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."
Harry's brother, Prince William, also offered up a statement at a press conference, adding, "It is my view that the deceitful way that the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said."
He also accused Bashir's interview of harming his parents' relationship: "The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse, and has since hurt countless others," Prince William said. "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."