Meghan Markle biographer hits out at William's 'puzzling' stance against Diana interview

Princess Diana was ‘change from within’ the royals says expert

Omid Scobie, who co-authored the flattering but unauthorised biography of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2020 titled Finding Freedom, branded as a “bold statement” Prince William’s claim made in May last year that the Princess of Wales’ interview with Panorama has “no legitimacy” given the means with which it was obtained and had “established a false narrative”. The royal expert believes the BBC had to be punished for the way Mr Bashir behaved and how it led the probe that followed.

However, he described as “puzzling” the decision announced in July by the corporation’s Director General Tim Davie to no longer allow the broadcast of the footage for public consumption.

The Panorama interview, Mr Scobie said, is “one of the few first-person accounts” of Princess Diana’s life.

Mr Davie’s move was likely welcomed by Prince William, who in a blistering statement dating back to May 20 2021, following the release of the Dyson Investigation into how Mr Bashir scooped an exclusive programme with the Princess of Wales, said the interview “should never be aired again”.

Referring to this statement by the Duke, Mr Scobie wrote in an op-ed for Yahoo!News: “It’s a bold statement, and one I don’t agree with given that the majority of Diana’s Panorama revelations were already in [Andrew] Morton’s book years earlier.

Prince William looking sombre

Prince William said in May last year Diana’s interview with Panorama should never be aired again (Image: GETTY)

Princess Diana speaking to Martin Bashir

Princess Diana was interviewed by Martin Bashir in 1995 (Image: GETTY)

“But our differences in opinion are exactly why it’s important for the public to have access to such a historically important interview.

“Without being able to hear Diana’s own words again, I fear we may be about to enter what could potentially lead to the slow rewriting of her life.

“After all, with stories of her suffering at the hands of the Royal Family and why she felt Charles was unfit to become the king, there are many aspects of this interview that the institution would love to be forgotten.”

The author said the media should be challenged if it carries out immoral or unethical practices.

READ MORE: Royal Family: ‘Wanted the title’ Meghan’s hopes dashed

Omid Scobie smiling

Omid Scobie co-authored Finding Freedom (Image: GETTY)

However, at the same time, freedom of speech should be granted to those “suppressed or silenced by higher powers”, Mr Scobie said.

The royal biographer went on to say the late princess strove for much of her life within the Royal Family to “share her side of the story” and has inspired millions by finding the courage to speak.

He added: “Sadly now, her voice has been silenced once again.”

The author noted how Princess Diana penned, just weeks after her bombshell interview was aired, a letter to Mr Bashir saying she had “no regrets” over appearing on Panorama.

The message was dated December 22 1995 and presented the princess’ monogram.


Princess Diana standing in front of Harry and William as children

Princess Diana with her sons Harry and William at Kensington Palace (Image: GETTY)

Prince William and Kate walking next to one another

Prince William delivered a statement following the publication of the Lord Dyson report (Image: GETTY)

It read: “Martin Bashir did not show me any documents, nor give me any information that I was not previously aware of.

“I consented to the interview on Panorama without any undue pressure and have no regrets concerning the matter.”

This note was written after Mr Bashir was asked by BBC executives to provide evidence Diana had not been shown fake bank statements when he was trying to gain access to her.

In his report published last year, Lord Dyson found Mr Bashir showed fake documents to Earl Spencer, the princess’ younger brother, to gain his trust and be introduced to her.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles's romance mapped

Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorced in 1996 (Image: EXPRESS)

Among other findings, Lord Dyson also stated that, by gaining access in this way, the reporter was able to persuade the then wife of Prince Charles to agree to give the interview.

The report added that the BBC covered up what it had learned about how Mr Bashir had secured the interview and described the broadcaster’s internal probe in 1996 looking into what had happened was “woefully ineffective”.

In his raw video statement released in the wake of the Lord Dyson’s report’s publication, William said the interview had contributed significantly both to the breakdown of his parents marriage and to the princess’s “fear, paranoia and isolation” in the final years of her life.

He also said: “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.

Prince William in a suit

Prince William is Diana’s eldest son (Image: GETTY)

“But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived.

“She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions.”

Last month, the BBC agreed to pay “substantial damages” to William and Harry’s former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke after Mr Bashir had made unfounded allegations about her as he attempted to secure his interview with Diana.

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