BBC will investigate interview with Diana from 1995

Britain's Princess Diana wears the Spencer tiara as she and Prince Charles attend state dinner at Government House in Adelaide, Austraila, Nov. 7, 1985. (AP Photo / Jim Bourdier)

The BBC's board of directors approved the appointment of a prominent retired judge to head an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding a controversial television interview with Princess Diana in 1995, the network said Wednesday.

The announcement comes after Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, again alleged this month that BBC journalist Martin Bashir used false statements and fraudulent documents to convince the late royal family member to agree to the interview. Charles Spencer also expressed his discomfort at the independent investigation carried out by the BBC into the way in which one of its journalists, accused of falsifying, reported AFP.

"I have told the BBC that I was not at all satisfied with the parameters set for this investigation on Diana's interview," he said, in a tweet, in which he reproached the British audiovisual group for having limited the temporal scope of the investigation.

The investigation will consider whether the steps taken by the BBC and Bashir were appropriate and to what extent they influenced Diana's decision to give the interview.

John Dyson, a former Supreme Court judge, is an "eminent and highly respected figure who will lead the process," the BBC said.

Charles Spencer claims that in the weeks leading up to the interview conducted 25 years ago, Bashir made false and defamatory statements about the most prominent members of the royal family to gain their trust and gain access to his sister.

The claims included that Diana's phone was tapped and that her bodyguard was hatching a plot against her. Spencer claims that Bashir showed her "false account statements" in order to make her believe that advisers to senior members of the royal family were paid to keep an eye on her, the AP explains.

Charles Spencer has demanded that an investigation be conducted and an apology issued. The BBC conducted an internal investigation when the complaints first surfaced and has said that Bashir admitted to asking for the false documents to be made. But the company has said the documents had no bearing on Diana's decision to give the interview.

The network's CEO, Tim Davie, said the BBC "is determined to know the truth about these events."

The 1995 interview, in which Diana made her famous statement "there were three in this marriage" - referring to Prince Charles' relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles - was viewed by millions of people and shook the monarchy.

Diana divorced Carlos in 1996 and died the following year in a car accident in Paris while being chased by paparazzi. Carlos married Camila, who is now the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005.

The BBC said 57-year-old Bashir, who is currently its religion editor, has stopped working for medical indications as he is recovering from heart surgery and complications related to COVID-19 that he suffered this year.


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