William says probe into Diana’s Panorama interview ‘should help establish truth’

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The Duke of Cambridge has tentatively welcomed an investigation into the BBC's Panorama interview with his mother, saying it "should help establish the truth behind the actions" that led to the programme.

William said the independent probe into Martin Bashir's controversial television appearance with Diana, Princess of Wales in 1995 was a "step in the right direction".

The BBC has appointed Lord Dyson, former Master of the Rolls, to lead the investigation, which will begin straight away and seek to discover what steps the broadcaster and Bashir took to land the interview.

The Waleses
The Prince and Princess of Wales with their sons Prince Harry and Prince William in 1995 (PA)

Second in line to the throne William said: "The independent investigation is a step in the right direction.

"It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time."

The investigation comes after allegations by Diana's brother Earl Spencer that he was shown "false bank statements" by Bashir and that these statements were used to help the reporter gain access to the princess.

Lord Dyson
Lord Dyson will lead the investigation (Yui Mok/PA)

The result was the explosive interview 25 years ago in which Diana famously said: "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

The BBC has claimed Diana had written a note saying she did not see the false bank statements and that they played no part in her decision to give the interview.

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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)
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The investigation will consider if the steps taken by the BBC and Bashir were appropriate and to what extent those actions influenced Diana's decision to give an interview.

It will also investigate what knowledge the BBC had in 1995 and 1996 of "mocked up bank statements purporting to show payments to a former employee of Earl Spencer (and) the purported payments to members of the Royal Households", the corporation said.

The graphic designer who mocked up the documents allegedly used to secure the interview has said he was made "the fall guy" by the BBC, and called on the broadcaster to apologise.

Bashir, who is now religion editor at the BBC, is currently signed off from work.

A statement from the corporation said: "He is currently recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery and has significant complications from having contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year."

Princess Diana - Panorama interview
Diana during her interview with Martin Bashir (BBC)

The princess sent shockwaves through the monarchy after the interview, which included candid details about her marriage and the Prince of Wales's rumoured relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, his now wife.

Diana also questioned Charles's suitability as king.

A month later, the Queen urged the separated couple to divorce, which they did in 1996.

The princess died in 1997 in a car crash in Paris.

Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, said: "The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation.

"Formerly Master of the Rolls and a Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Dyson is an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process."

Lord Dyson said: "This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair."

The BBC will publish the report of this investigation at its conclusion.

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