Princes William and Harry have criticised the media for unethical practices after an investigation concluded that one of the BBC’s journalists used “deceitful behavior” to secure Princess Diana’s most explosive TV interview in 1995.
The Duke of Cambridge blamed BBC failings over its interview with his mother for fuelling her paranoia and worsening his parents’ relationship.
After an inquiry found the BBC fell below its standards, Prince William said he was “most saddened” Diana never learned she had been deceived.
He said his mother was failed “not just by a rogue reporter” but by BBC bosses. He blamed a toxic media culture for his mother’s death.
The Met Police said it will assess the new report, after previously deciding against a criminal investigation.
In a separate statement, Prince Harry said the issue was bigger than just the BBC – and that “the ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.”
“To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it. That is the first step toward justice and truth,” he wrote. “Yet what deeply concerns me is that practices like these-and even worse-are still widespread today.”
The independent inquiry – by retired judge Lord Dyson – found that interviewer Martin Bashir acted in a “deceitful” way and faked documents to obtain his interview.
The BBC’s 1996 probe led by then-head of News and Current Affairs Lord Hall into initial complaints about what happened was “woefully ineffective”, it added.
The BBC has written to apologise to Princes William and Harry, as well as the Prince of Wales and Diana’s brother Earl Spencer.
Matt Wiessler, the graphic designer who first raised concerns about the fake documents used to secure the interview and who was later denied work by the BBC, told Radio 4’s Today programme that an apology sent to him at 22:00 BST on Thursday was “too little, too late”.
He criticised Lord Hall, who led an internal investigation at the time, and then BBC director-general Lord Birt for not apologising to him in person.