Princess Diana feared Martin Bashir interview was ‘terrible mistake’, says close pal

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Princess Diana feared she had made a catastrophic mistake on the eve of her dramatic Panorama interview with Martin Bashir, her close friend has revealed.

Astrologer Debbie Frank says Diana made a breathless phone call to her the day before the BBC programme aired and revealed she was having last-minute doubts about going public on the state of her marriage – but it was too late.

And it was only when she saw polls that showed the public had reacted well to her 1995 tell-all about her and Prince Charles that she was able to calm down.

Debbie – one of the Princess of Wales’ closest confidantes before her death at the age of 36 in a Paris car crash in 1997 – slammed BBC reporter Bashir for manipulating the mum-of-two.

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Diana looks tense during the interview
(Image: Getty)

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In an exclusive interview, she told the Sunday People: “He exploited Diana in the way that so many other men have exploited her in her life.

“Diana liked Bashir. She felt he was a fresh face who had come in from the outside, but she allowed him to manipulate her, basically.

“He preyed on someone that was in an extremely vulnerable state.

“Diana must have known that she was taking a risk because she didn’t tell anyone in her inner circle about the interview until it was too late.

Stargazer Debbie Frank was close to Diana
(Image: REX/Shutterstock)

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“She called me the day before it aired and said, ‘I’ve done this big thing and I hope it’s the right thing and doesn’t create too many waves. I needed to tell my story – it’s time people heard the truth.’

“She sounded quite breathy and in a highly charged state.

“She was worried the public might turn against her and that she had said the wrong thing. She had taken advice from a few people and was no longer sure it was the right thing to do.

“I told her, ‘It will have great implications, but I understand why you’ve done it’.

Martin Bashir is facing accusations from people close to the princess
(Image: ITV)

“I was trying to calm her down and saying, ‘You will manage no matter what happens’.”

Debbie’s stunning testimony follows allegations about the methods Bashir, now 57 and BBC religion editor, used to win Diana’s trust.

Yesterday it was claimed the BBC reporter convinced the princess her life was in danger and issued a chilling warning about the security forces, saying: “They’re going to wipe you.”

Bashir even showed Diana an allegedly forged bank statement to back his claims, says royal biographer Andrew Morton in a Channel 4 documentary on Monday night.

He says: "[Bashir] was feeding her stories which left her, and I am quoting from one of Diana’s confidantes here, ‘terrified, horrified’.”

Debbie, who gained Diana’s trust after reading her stars in 1989, said: “Bashir came into a perfect storm at the perfect moment and it was a career move for him.

"Diana had been convinced she was being bugged for a long time and was constantly having the Palace swept for listening devices.

“Although it seemed a bit far-fetched, nothing could dissuade her that it was true.”

The BBC has launched an independent inquiry into the Panorama interview headed by former judge Lord Dyson.

Last night a spokesperson said: “It is important we have a view of what happened based on the evidence of everyone involved. The BBC is determined to get to the truth of what happened.”

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