Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer calls for BBC inquiry amid claims they used forged papers to land Panorama scoop

Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer calls for BBC inquiry amid claims they used forged papers to land Panorama scoop

PRINCESS Diana's brother has demanded a BBC inquiry amid claims forged bank statements were used to land a historic Panorama interview with her.

Charles Spencer, 56, accused the Beeb of a "whitewash" in a dramatic letter blasting Martin Bashir for persuading the royal to take part in the 1995 scoop.

He slammed the "sheer dishonesty" over the sensational interview and has claimed the BBC failed to accept the "full gravity of the situation".

Earl Spencer told director-general Tim Davie Bashir showed him falsified bank accounts, which claimed to wrongly show two senior courtiers were being paid by security services for information on Diana, in the hope it would win him an introduction to her.

He also claims to have a letter sent to him by Bashir, where he implied Prince Charles had an affair with their nanny to increase pressure on Diana and Earl Spencer's co-operation.

Diana's furious brother said if he hadn't seen the bank statements he would not have made the introduction and the scoop wouldn't have happened.

The bombshell interview then saw Diana tell Bashir "there were three people in the marriage" – a reference to her estranged husband's relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles – and attracted 23 million viewers.

A BBC spokesperson said they can't comment on private correspondence, and is unable to investigate further as Bashir is seriously ill, but added the corporation is "being as open as we can about events from a quarter of a century ago".

Bashir is said to be very unwell with Covid-related complications.

Before Mr Davie issued a partial apology last week, Mr Spencer had said it was "palpably untrue" for the BBC to say the bank statements were irrelevant.


According to The Daily Mail, in an email on October 23 Earl Spencer wrote: "If it were not for me seeing these statements, I would not have introduced Bashir to my sister."

He added: "The sheer dishonesty of what I've seen in the BBC 25 years ago – both in Bashir and his colleague's actions in securing the interview, and the whitewash under Tony Hall's name – demands it."

But now fresh allegations have emerged that the BBC obtained the scoop under a false pretext.

Earl Spencer says he warned Diana against working with Bashir and kept notes of their first meeting at a pal's flat in September 1995.

The institution eventually launched its own investigation into the faked document which concluded in April 1996 that: "The BBC has been able, independently, to verify that these documents were put to no use which had any bearing, direct or indirect, on the Panorama interview with the Princess of Wales."

But renewed publicity around the 25th anniversary of the interview and the airing again of the claims against Bashir, has prompted Earl Spencer to take up the case again.

Princess Diana died on August 31, 1997, after suffering fatal injuries in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris.

Her companion Dodi Fayed and driver and security guard Henri Paul were also killed in the crash.

To secure the interview two years before her death, Bashir has also been accused of exploiting the princess's fears that her private conversations were being bugged by the secret services to garner a meeting.

In response to the 1996 BBC enquiry, Bashir maintained the statements were shown to Earl Spencer after he had already agreed to introduce him to his sister with a view to securing an interview with her.

Charles Spencer insists this is a "lie" and has also produced evidence of a letter written to him by Bashir, in which the journalist attempts to heap further pressure on both himself and Diana to co-operate.

Bashir had referenced salacious rumours that were circulating about her children's nanny, Tiggy Legge-Bourke, having "recurring intimacy" with a "particular individual".

In his letter, Bashir makes a series of claims and says Miss Legge-Bourke is "keen to divert much attention".

Miss Legge-Bourke was at the centre of Bashir's attempt to secure his interview.

The nanny's relationship with William and Harry had led to jealousy from Diana and by 1995, the princess was also concerned about a closeness between Miss Legge-Bourke and her estranged husband.

A BBC spokesman said: "We would never comment on or confirm private correspondence. As people know, Martin Bashir is seriously unwell at the moment.

"The BBC is being as open as we can be about events from a quarter of a century ago.

"Our records show the focus of the BBC's investigations into these events was whether or not the Princess of Wales had been misled, and they show that the BBC's key piece of information was the hand-written statement from the Princess of Wales, who said she hadn't seen the mocked-up documents and they had played no part in her decision to take part in the interview.

"None of this means the BBC won't properly look at issues raised.

"If anyone has substantial new information they would like to share with us, we are encouraging them to do so.

"While Martin is unwell, however, we are unable to progress this further."

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