In his and the Duchess of Sussex’s new Netflix documentary series,Harry and Meghan, segments from the late Diana, Princess of Wales’s interview with the BBC journalist Martin Bashir, were shown.
Footage of Diana talking about the public and press scrutiny on her life first aired in the 1995 interview, which Prince William said made his mother’s sense of “fear, paranoia and isolation” worse.
Last year, a report by Lord Dyson found that the BBC covered up Bashir’s deceit in obtaining the interview and “fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency”.
The journalist was in “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines after it was discovered that he faked bank statements and showed them to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, in order to gain access to her.
Following the report, William sharply rebuked the BBC and said: “It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said. The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.
“It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”
He added: “It is my firm view that this Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again. It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised by the BBC and others.”
At the time, Prince Harry said of the report that he was deeply concerned that journalistic practices like those of Bashir were “widespread today” and “bigger than one outlet, one network, or one publication”.
“The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life,” he added.
In the first episode of Harry and Meghan, the duke is seen speaking about Diana’s struggles with how intrusive the press were.
He said: “I think she had a lived experience of how she was struggling living that life. She felt compelled to talk about it.
“Especially in that Panorama interview. I think we all now know that she was deceived into giving the interview. But at the same time she spoke the truth of her experience.”
A clip of Diana is then shown, in which she said: “I still to this day find the interest daunting and phenomenal. Because I actually don’t like being the centre of attention.
“When I have my public duties, I understand when I get out the car I’m being photographed. But actually, it’s now when I go out of my door, my front door, I’m being photographed. I never know where a lens is going to be.”
It has been reported that Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and members of the royal family were not approached for comment on the content of Harry and Meghan’s series.
According to the PA news agency, a senior palace source countered the written statement at the beginning of episode one that reads: “Members of the royal family declined to comment on the content within this series.”