Princess Diana’s interview with Martin Bashir – what has he been accused of?
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Princess Diana shocked the world and rocked the Royal Family when she gave her infamous interview with Martin Bashir on Panorma in 1995.
Millions tuned in when she spoke openly about her marriage to Prince Charles and his relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, uttering her now infamous line: "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."
Diana's brother Earl Spencer has accused Bashir of creating fake documents to convince Diana to speak, and the BBC has launched an investigation into the allegations.
Here we take a look at that famous interview that changed the Royal Family forever and why it's come back to haunt Bashir over two decades later.
Princess Diana and Martin Bashir during her Panorama interview in 1995
Martin Bashir looks sprightly despite being 'too ill' to help BBC Panorama investigation
Prince William breaks silence on inquiry into Panorama's Princess Diana interview
What did Princess Diana say?
In 1995 Diana and Prince Charles had been separated for three years and she spoke with complete honesty about the breakdown of the marriage.
Bashir asked Diana if she knew about the allegations that Charles was having an affair with Camilla, to which she responded: "Oh, a woman's instinct is a very good one."
Diana said she knew he was cheating because of a "change in behavioural pattern… for all sorts of reasons that a woman's instinct produces".
She confessed the "pretty devastating" realisation left her with "rampant bulimia".
Diana called bulimia a "secret disease" and revealed she made herself sick five times a day.
The Prince and Princess of Wales in 1987
(Image: Getty Images)
Bashir asked her: "Do you think Mrs Parker-Bowles was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?"
To which Diana responded: "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."
Diana also spoke about her battle with post-natal depression after giving birth to Prince William in 1982.
She said: "I was unwell with post-natal depression, which no one ever discusses, post-natal depression, you have to read about it afterwards, and that in itself was a bit of a difficult time.
"You’d wake up in the morning feeling you didn't want to get out of bed, you felt misunderstood, and just very, very low in yourself. I had never had depression in my life."
Prince Charles and Camilla
(Image: Getty Images)
She claimed she had received little sympathy from the royals, adding: "It gave everybody a wonderful new label – Diana's unstable and Diana's mentally unbalanced.
"And unfortunately, that seems to have stuck on and off over the years."
Diana also confessed to harming herself, saying: "You have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help."
Diana tragically died in a car crash in Paris two years after the interview aired.
The Queen advised Charles and Diana to divorce after the interview
(Image: UK Press via Getty Images)
What did the Royal Family do?
The Queen was said to be very upset by it.
During the interview Diana had said she didn't actually want to divorce Prince Charles, but less than a month after it aired the palace announced that the couple would be divorcing.
The Queen, the Prime Minister and the couple reportedly discussed the decision for weeks.
On 20 December 1995, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen had sent letters to Charles and Diana, advising them to divorce.
The divorce was finalised in August 1996 and Diana had Her Royal Highness (HRH) title taken away.
Diana's brother Earl Spencer
What did Diana's brother accuse Martin Bashir of?
Amid the 25th anniversary of the interview earlier this month, Diana's brother Earl Spencer accused the BBC of "sheer dishonesty" and accused Bashir of "yellow journalism" for the way he secured the interview.
In a letter to director-general Tim Davie that Bashir, Spencer claimed Bashir showed him falsified bank accounts purporting to show that two senior courtiers were being paid by the security services for information on his sister, to gain access to Diana for the interview.
According to the Daily Mail, he said: "If it were not for me seeing these statements, I would not have introduced Bashir to my sister.
"In turn, he would have remained just one of thousands of journalists hoping that he/she had a tiny chance of getting her to speak to them, with no realistic prospect of doing so."
An internal investigation held by the BBC in 1996 found that the documents did not contribute to Diana agreeing to the interview.
Earl Spencer demanded the BBC formally open an inquiry into the case.
Bashir during the interview
What is the BBC investigation about?
After Earl Spencer's accusations, the BBC said it would "get to the bottom" of the accusations swirling around the interview.
They said Bashir was too ill to respond to the allegations.
The statement said: "The BBC has made clear it will investigate the issues raised and that this will be independent.
"We will set out the terms of reference in due course. We will do everything possible to get to the bottom of this.
"Martin Bashir is signed off work by his doctors as he is currently recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery and has significant complications from having contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year."
The BBC has now announced a formal investigation into the interview will take place headed by Lord Dyson.
The former Master of the Rolls is set to launch his probe straight away and vowed to make it "thorough and fair".
In a statement, the BBC said: "The terms of reference for the independent investigation are as follows.
Diana spoke about her marriage to Prince Charles, her bulimia and self-harm during the interview
(Image: Press Association)
"1. What steps did the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir take with a view to obtaining the Panorama interview on 20 November 1995 with Diana, Princess of Wales? This will involve a consideration of all the relevant evidence including (i) the mocked up bank statements purporting to show payments to a former employee of Earl Spencer (ii) the purported payments to members of the Royal Households; and (iii) the other matters recently raised by Earl Spencer not limited to the matters published in the Daily Mail on 7 November 2020.
"2. Were those steps appropriate, having regard in particular to the BBC’s editorial standards prevailing at the time?
"3. To what extent did the actions of the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir influence Diana, Princess of Wales’s decision to give an interview?
"4.What knowledge did the BBC have in 1995 and 1996 of the relevant evidence referred to at paragraph 1 above?
"5. Having regard to what was known at the time of its investigation in 1995 and 1996, how effectively did the BBC investigate the circumstances leading to the interview?"
The BBC is now investigating the interview
(Image: Corbis via Getty Images)
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It added: "The investigation will start straight away and the BBC is handing over all of its relevant records.
"The BBC will publish the report of this investigation at its conclusion."
Lord Dyson said: "This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair."
Lord Dyson has appointed Fieldfisher LLP as solicitors to the independent investigation, which also worked on the inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.
Prince William released a statement about the investigation, saying: "The independent investigation is a step in the right direction.
"It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time."
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