How a 25-Year-Old Sensational Interview with Princess Diana is Haunting BBC Today


How a 25-Year-Old Sensational Interview with Princess Diana is Haunting BBC Today

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The British Royal Family may not wield any ruling power anymore, but that doesn’t stop the world’s media from following them around anyway. But even when the coverage starts to approach the realm of scandal, like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leaving the United Kingdom to live in Canada, the media frenzy no longer approaches the fever pitch of the 1990s, when Princess Diana, wife of Prince Charles, was under the spotlight.

Diana’s divorce from Charles had the world talking, and when the former princess appeared on BBC’s show Panorama for a revelatory interview with Martin Bashir, she laid bare the very private details of her married life, questioned Charles suitability to be king, and spoke about her struggle with bulimia and self-harming. Speaking about Camilla Parker Bowles, whom Charles is now married to, Diana said, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

That interview was one of the last Diana would give before she lost her life in a car accident the next year. Now, her brother, Charles Spencer, has come forward with claims that the journalist Bashir coerced him into introducing Diana by showing him faked documents. The Panorama interview was immediately controversial at the time of its airing in 1996 as well, and BBC conducted an investigation at the time that concluded that while Bashir had made the documents, he had never used them against Diana, nor had she even seen them.

However, Diana’s brother Spencer has come forward on the 25th anniversary of the interview claiming that Bashir showed the documents to him, not Diana, and that he has evidence to prove the same. He is demanding a posthumous apology to his sister, as well as contributions made by the BBC to charities operated in Diana’s name. Yesterday, BBC announced that it will reopen the investigation into the allegations against Bashir, who now serves as its religious affairs correspondent.

It’s not just the BBC that is taking a renewed interest in the life of Princess Diana. Her story is currently unfolding on the latest season of the Netflix series The Crown. Even two decades after her death, Diana remains one of the most magnetic personalities to walk the halls of Buckingham Palace.