London, United Kingdom: Martin Bashir, the BBC journalist who duped Princess Diana into giving an explosive interview, apologized to Prince William and Harry on Sunday but denied any relation between his conduct and her death.
Bashir commissioned bogus bank statements that falsely implied some of Diana’s closest associates were being paid by the security services to keep tabs on her, according to a report released on Thursday by retired senior judge John Dyson.
Bashir, 58, then showed them to Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, in an attempt to persuade him to set up a meeting with Diana and regain her trust.
Bashir expressed his “sad regret” to Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, in 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 paper.
However, William said that Bashir’s conduct and the interview had a “substantial role” in the breakdown of his parent’s relationship and “substantially contributed to her anxiety, paranoia, and solitude” in her final years.
Harry stated in his own press release that deceitful techniques were a factor in his mother’s death.
“The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life,” he said.
Diana died in an automobile accident in Paris in 1997, at the age of 36.
“I don’t feel I can be held accountable for many of the other things that were going on in her life, and the complex issues surrounding those decisions,” Bashir said in response to the charges.
“The suggestion I am singularly responsible I think is unreasonable and unfair,” he told the paper.
I adored her
He claimed that the 1995 interview was conducted on Diana’s terms and that they remained staunch friends after it aired to a 22.8 million-strong audience.
“My family and I loved her,” he said, revealing that Diana had visited Bashir’s wife and newborn child in hospital and that the princess threw a birthday party for his eldest child at Kensington Palace.
Bashir has expressed regret for showing falsified documents to Diana’s brother but claims that it had “no influence” on the allegations made during the interview.
Diana famously declared in it that her marriage consisted of “three people”: her, Charles, and his long-time lover and now wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, and she also acknowledged to adultery.
Bashir was relatively unknown at the time, but he went on to have a successful career on US television networks, where he interviewed celebrities such as Michael Jackson.
Bashir’s family also blames the pop singer for his death, claiming that the consequences from the interview led to his becoming increasingly reliant on narcotics.
Bashir was the BBC’s religion editor until he resigned last week, citing health reasons, only hours before Dyson’s report was delivered to BBC managers.
Tony Hall, the former BBC director-general whom Dyson chastised for his “woefully inept” 1996 investigation into Bashir’s fraud, resigned as chair of the National Gallery of Britain on Saturday.
Next year, the government will conduct a review of the BBC’s financing and governance, which Home Secretary Priti Patel described as a very, very crucial moment on Sunday.
“There’s no question about that trust and confidence has been undermined, and now it’s a time for the BBC to absolutely reflect upon the findings of this report and rebuild that trust and confidence,” she told Sky News.
COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF THE BBC.