The Princess Diana Interview That Was Based On A Lie

On November 20, 1995, BBC's "Panorama" broadcast an interview with Princess Diana conducted by journalist Martin Bashir. In it, the princess talked about her relationship and divorce from Prince Charles, and said, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," referring to the prince's affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. The controversial interview — wherein Diana also talked about her mental health and her own affair — was watched by 23 million viewers. Later, it was alleged that the interview was obtained with misleading information and falsified documents (via BBC).

In 1996, there was an inquiry into how Bashir — a then-unknown journalist — was able to secure the interview. A graphic artist who worked for BBC revealed that Bashir asked her to create fake bank statements that showed payments to a royal household member and Diana's former secretary to monitor the princess. The documents were supposed to be used to convince Diana to speak out in an interview, as reported by Newsweek. Bashir admitted to having the false documents made, but he claims that they were never used. The inquiry ended with Bashir not having been found guilty of misconduct. "It wasn't a very good idea to have these documents made, and Mr. Bashir accepts that. But we have confirmed that in no way were the documents used to gain the interview with Princess Diana," a BBC spokesperson said, according to The Guardian.

Princess Diana's brother steps in

In 2020, Charles Spencer requested an independent inquiry into his sister's interview with Martin Bashir. BBC has apologized, but Spencer refused to accept it. "When the BBC say they've 'apologised' to me, what they've apologised for is showing me false bank statements relating to a lesser, unrelated matter. They haven't apologised for the fake bank statements and other deceit that led to me introducing Martin Bashir to my sister," he stated (via The Guardian).

Since the bombshell interview, Bashir has repeatedly apologized for having forged documents, but he insists that those weren't used to coerce Princess Diana to be interviewed. He also said that the princess had input "from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents," as reported by NPR.

Lord Dyson conducted a six-month independent inquiry into the matter, per BBC, and investigators have looked over the report. Upon careful consideration, the Metropolitan Police Service in London said that although Bashir secured fake documents, there was no evidence of a criminal offense and no further investigation will be done.