Diana’s brother criticises BBC over handling of Panorama inquiry

The brother of Diana, Princess of Wales has used Twitter to criticise the BBC over its handling of an internal inquiry into his sister's bombshell Panorama interview.

In a series of tweets, Earl Spencer said the corporation was "incapable of honestly facing up to the ugly truth of this matter".

The BBC has said it will hold a new investigation into fresh allegations from Diana's brother that he was shown "false bank statements" by BBC journalist Martin Bashir, to help him gain access to the princess.

Diana with Bashir during the Panorama interview
Diana with Martin Bashir during the Panorama interview (PA)

But Charles Spencer reportedly wants an independent inquiry and has turned down the BBC's offer to examine his claims, which he says are part of a dossier of new information surrounding the circumstances of Mr Bashir's successful attempt to secure the interview with Diana.

The earl also accused former BBC director-general Lord Hall, who led the 1996 internal inquiry into whether his sister had been misled or not, of excluding him from that process.

Lord Hall, who at the time was the director of BBC news and current affairs, has told The Times newspaper he was "unaware" of the documents at the centre of the new claims.

In one tweet the earl suggested a reason why Lord Hall did not know about the documents: "This is hardly surprising: Hall chose to exclude me from the enquiry."

He goes on to say in another post: "Answering the key question – why I was deliberately excluded from the enquiry (one I wasn't even aware was being conducted) – has to be a part of an independent enquiry.

"The BBC has shown itself incapable of honestly facing up to the ugly truth of this matter."

In his fresh claims the earl has said Mr Bashir showed him "false bank statements", relating to alleged payments made to two members of the royal household by the security services, as he tried to gain access to Diana in 1995.

The suggestion being that the individuals were being paid for information about the princess.

51 PHOTOS
Princess Diana
See Gallery
Princess Diana
File photo dated 29/6/1994 of the Princess of Wales arriving at the Serpentine Gallery in London's Hyde Park to attend a gala dinner as its patron. Twenty-five years ago, the Princess of Wales stepped out in her "revenge dress".
Diana and the Queen snapped in good spirits.
TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 18: Princess Diana Resting Her Head In Her Hands Whilst Sitting On The Steps Of Her Home At Highgrove, Gloucestershire. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The Princess of Wales rides in the passenger seat of a vintage Mercedes-Benz.

Princess Diana, Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles at William's first day at Eton.
circa 1965: A young Lady Diana Spencer (1961 - 1997), later the wife of Prince Charles.
Prince Charles and his fiancee Lady Diana Spencer with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, 7th March 1981.
Prince Charles  and Lady Diana Spencer on their wedding day.
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on their wedding day.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales kissing his wife, Princess Diana (1961 - 1997), on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their marriage.
Princess Diana on her wedding day.
(FILE PHOTO) The Prince and Princess of Wales leave St Paul's Cathedral after their wedding, 29th July 1981. She wears a wedding dress by David and Elizabeth Emmanuel and the Spencer family tiara.
A pregnant Princess of Wales joins the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the Trooping of the Colour ceremony, June 1982. The Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Alexandra of Kent and Angus Ogilvy are among the group. 
(FILE PHOTO) The Princess of Wales attends a dinner held by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in Islamabad during her official visit to Pakistan, September 1991.
Princess Diana pictured in a tiara.

Diana looks deep in thought on her wedding day.

Princess Diana smiles for the cameras.
Princess Diana in a stylish evening gown.
Princess Diana and Prince Philip at a polo match in Windsor on July 26th , 1987.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana leave St. Mary’s Hospital in London, with Prince Harry on September 16, 1984.
Princess Diana with her sons William and Harry in 1995.
Princess Diana pictured in a stylish beret.
Princess Diana is snapped in India.
Princess Diana doing charity work.
Princess Diana holding Harry as a baby.
Princess Diana meeting members of the public.
Princess Diana poses in a bikini during a holiday.
Diana beams as she sits with William and Harry.
Princess Diana pictured with young William.
Princess Diana is seen holding hands with her two young sons William and Harry.
Princess Diana with William and Harry.
Diana with her sons in December 1995.
Diana pictured with Charles.

An adorable Prince William and Prince Harry can be seen standing beside their mother, Princess Diana, as a little girl gives flowers to the Queen Mother in 1991.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, kissing Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, at a polo match.
Diana gets involved in a parents' day race.

Diana dazzles in a green frock.

Diana and Charles pictured at a glamorous evening event.
Diana and Charles pose for a formal picture.
Charles and Diana boarding a flight.
Charles and Diana as newlyweds.
Diana sporting a casual look.

Diana wears a tartan outfit to match Charles' kilt for a trip to Scotland.

A young Diana shows off sapphire sparkler.
Diana dazzles in white frock and tiara during trip to the Middle East.
Diana pictured with baby Harry.
Diana poses for pictures with members of the public during a walkabout.
Diana and Charles enjoy a family day out.
Diana pictured alongside a stern-faced Queen.
Diana pictured alongside Princess Anne.
TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 18: Princess Diana Resting Her Head In Her Hands Whilst Sitting On The Steps Of Her Home At Highgrove, Gloucestershire. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Mr Bashir, now the BBC's religion editor, is seriously ill with Covid-related complications and is not in a position to respond to the earl's allegations, the BBC has said.

Charles told the Daily Mail: "I have declined the DG's (director-general) offer of an internal BBC investigation, given how deeply concerning the 1996 one was to me, and I have told him I am going to seek an independent inquiry."

The corporation's 1996 internal inquiry examined claims Mr Bashir had used false financial documents, purporting to show a then member of the earl's staff was leaking stories, as a way to persuade the princess to talk.

The BBC maintains there is a written note from Diana – although it no longer has a copy – attesting she had not seen the false bank statements for her brother's then employee, and they played no part in her decision to give the interview.

The corporation has previously said in a statement that Mr Bashir admitted commissioning the mocked-up bank documents and it is understood the journalist was found to have "done wrong" at the end of the process, but it is not known what sanction, if any, he faced.

There is no suggestion any of the individuals that were the subject of any of the financial documents were involved in any wrongdoing.

In an earlier statement a BBC spokeswoman highlighted an apology the earl has received from director-general Tim Davie over the mocked-up documents relating to his former employee.

She said: "The BBC has apologised. We are happy to repeat that apology. And while this was a quarter of a century ago, we absolutely will investigate, robustly and fairly, substantive new information.

"We have asked Earl Spencer to share further information with the BBC.

"Unfortunately, we are hampered at the moment by the simple fact that we are unable to discuss any of this with Martin Bashir, as he is seriously unwell. When he is well, we will of course hold an investigation into these new issues."

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS