In a 127-page report, High Court Judge Lord Dyson found that Bashir, while working with the BBC at the time, “deceived and induced” the late royal’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, into securing the interview for Panorama.
The proposed donation is reported by the Mail on Sunday to be roughly the amount the network made for selling the global rights to the interview as well as reparations for its use. The royal family will reportedly decide which charitable organization the money will go to. Sources told the outlet that Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, will have a hand in deciding how the money is spent.
Representatives for the royal family did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
“This is an admirable decision, though obviously, it cannot undo the damage that has been done or erase the BBC’s guilt,” Diana’s close friend, Rosa Monckton, told the outlet.
The interview saw Diana make explosive comments about her marriage to Prince Charles including saying “there were three of us in this marriage,” referring to Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, who he married after Diana’s death in 2005.
She and Charles divorced the following year in 1996. Diana passed away in 1997 from injuries she sustained in a Paris car crash. She was 36.
It was alleged that Bashir breached the BBC’s editorial guidelines by creating two false bank statements that he showed to Earl Spencer. The 57-year-old then introduced Bashir to Diana. The interview took place two months later from the meeting.
In November 2020, Earl Spencer told People magazine the documents were influential in his decision to approach Diana about the interview, as they alleged that a member of his staff was being paid by tabloids to leak information about the princess’s family.
“This was what led me to talk to Diana about such things,” he told the outlet. “This, in turn, led to the meeting where I introduced Diana to Bashir, on September 19, 1995. This then led to the interview.”
In October 2020, the Sunday Times alleged that Bashir manipulated Diana into giving the tell-all by showing those faulty bank statements to her brother. After facing pressure from Diana’s family following the report, Davie commissioned an independent inquiry to investigate Bashir’s tactics.
TELEVISION JOURNALIST MARTIN BASHIR WITH THE BAFTA AWARD HE RECEIVED FOR BEST TALK SHOW, FOR THE PANORAMA INTERVIEW WITH DIANA, THE PRINCESS OF WALES, AT THE AWARDS CEREMONY IN LONDON (Photo by Fiona Hanson – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) (Fiona Hanson – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The BBC’s current director-general, Tim Davie, said the corporation accepts “in full” the findings of Lord Dyson.
“Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the proceeds for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect,” said Davie. “We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings.”
“While today’s BBC has significantly better processes and procedures, those that existed at the time should have prevented the interview being secured this way,” he continued. “The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time and been more transparent about what it knew. While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC offers that today.”
In response to Lord Dyson’s report, Bashir released his own statement.
“This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago,” said the 58-year-old, as quoted by the outlet. “I apologized then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up. It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret. But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and again more recently.”
“I also reiterate that the bank statements had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview,” Bashir shared. “Evidence handed to the inquiry in her own handwriting (and published alongside the report today) unequivocally confirms this, and other compelling evidence presented to Lord Dyson reinforces it. In fact, despite his other findings, Lord Dyson himself in any event accepts that the princess would probably have agreed to be interviewed without what he describes as my ‘intervention.’
“It is saddening that this single issue has been allowed to overshadow the princess’ brave decision to tell her story, to courageously talk through the difficulties she faced, and, to help address the silence and stigma that surrounded mental health issues all those years ago. She led the way in addressing so many of these issues and that’s why I will always remain immensely proud of that interview.”
William, 39, and Harry, 36, publicly issued statements on the investigation’s findings.
Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program Panorama. (Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
“I would like to thank Lord Dyson and his team for the report,” the Duke of Cambridge said in a statement sent to Fox News. “It is welcome that the BBC accepts Lord Dyson’s findings in full — which are extremely concerning — that BBC employees: lied and used fake documents to obtain the interview with my mother; made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family which played on her fears and fuelled paranoia; displayed woeful incompetence when investigating complaints and concerns about the programme; and were evasive in their reporting to the media and covered up what they knew from their internal investigation.”
William continued: “It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said. The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”
“Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest. The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life,” said Harry in a statement also sent to Fox News. “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.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco and the Associated Press contributed to this report.