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Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry and the royal family have received a formal apology from BBC director general Tim Davie over Princess Diana's 1995 “Panorama” interview. The apology came shortly after BBC confirmed that William and Harry’s former nanny, Alexandra Pettifer, a.k.a. Tiggy Legge-Bourke, won a defamation case in the London High Court on Thursday in which she had filed regarding false claims in the interview that she had an affair with Charles.
“Following publication of the Dyson Report last year we have been working with those who suffered as a result of the deceitful tactics used by the BBC in pursuit of its interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for the Panorama program in 1995, including the matters that were mentioned in court today in respect of Miss Tiggy Legge-Bourke, now Mrs. Alexandra Pettifer," read the statement. "The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs. Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize publicly to her, to The Prince of Wales [Charles], and to the Dukes of Cambridge [William] and Sussex [Harry], for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives."
“It is a matter of great regret that the BBC did not get to the facts in the immediate aftermath of the programme when there were warning signs that the interview might have been obtained improperly. Instead, as The Duke of Cambridge himself put it, the BBC failed to ask the tough questions. Had we done our job properly Princess Diana would have known the truth during her lifetime. We let her, The Royal Family and our audiences down," the statement continued. "Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained I have decided that the BBC will never show the program again; nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters."
The statement noted that the interview will "remain part of the historical record and there may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts for journalistic purposes, but these will be few and far between and will need to be agreed at Executive Committee level and set in the full context of what we now know about the way the interview was obtained. I would urge others to exercise similar restraint."
Diana made headlines after the 1995 interview with journalist Martin Bashir aired, in which she spoke about her battle with bulimia and her unhappy marriage to Prince Charles. It wasn't until May 2021 when an independent investigation into the program found that BBC "fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency." The inquiry was led by former British Supreme Court Judge John Dyson.
The report also found that Bashir forged documents including fake bank statements shown to Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, which "deceived and induced him to arrange a meeting with Princess Diana," and that he later lied to BBC managers about them.
"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 process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect," Davie said in a statement at the time. "We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings."
While Bashir apologized for mocking up the fake documents, he said in a statement to BBC that they "had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview."
For more on the investigation, watch the video below.