Princes William and Harry condemned the BBC for its Martin Basheer Panorama interview with their mother, Princess Diana, saying that the corporation's failures brewed paranoia within her final years, reports The Guardian.
They said that the corporation's culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took the princess' life. Both were giving their statement after an inquiry report concluded that BBC severely breached its editorial guidelines while obtaining the 1995 interview with Princess Diana.
The inquiry conducted by former supreme court judge John Dyson concluded that the interviewer Bashir obtained the interview by commissioning fake bank statements, and former director-general Tony Hall did a flawed and ineffective probe into the issue. The report says that Tony Hall was aware that Bashir brought serious lies to persuade the princess to speak, and the corporation covered up the truth.
The findings of the report have provoked widespread criticism and prompted apologies from BBC executives. The corporation reportedly returned all the awards it received for Diana's interview.
Prince Williams stated that BBC had failed his mother, Princess Daina, with their "woeful incompetence". The "deceitful way" with which they obtained her interview had influenced what she said. He added that the corporation conducted a shoddy investigation, and his mother had never known she was deceived. Also, it became a reason that destabilised his parents' relationship and hurt many more.
Prince Harry said that their mother was a resilient, brave and honest woman, but the BBC's unethical practices took her life. He added that the same practices are still alive.
The interview had made Martin Bashir a star when Diana revealed details of her life and made the famous comment "there were three of us in this marriage," referring to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. But Dyson's report states that Bashir used fake bank documents to persuade Earl Spencer in an attempt to secure sensational revelations.
In a statement, Bashir, who quit BBC recently, said that he had already apologised and deeply regret what he did. But Diana would have committed to an interview regardless of the deception, he added. Supporting that, BBC produced Princess Diana's written note stating that documents play "no part in her decision to take part in the interview".
Tony Hall responded that his 1996 inquiry on the issue fell short of what was required, and he was "wrong to give Martin Basheer the benefit of the doubt".