The Duke of Cambridge tentatively welcomed the investigation, calling it a "step in the right direction"

By Ashley Boucher and Simon Perry
November 18, 2020 07:34 PM
Advertisement

Prince William is responding to the news that the BBC is opening an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the infamous 1995 Panorama interview with his mother, Princess Diana.

William called the investigation a "step in the right direction" in a statement obtained by PEOPLE Wednesday.

Tentatively welcoming the investigation, the Duke of Cambridge 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.”

Prince Harry, like his brother, has been aware of the ongoing controversy over the 25-year-old documentary. His spokesperson had no comment when reached by PEOPLE.

Earlier on Wednesday, the BBC announced that the company hired former British Supreme Court Judge John Dyson, Lord Dyson to lead an independent investigation after the outlet was accused of using unethical tactics used to secure Diana's TV appearance.

Prince William
| Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

The Sunday Times reported last month that Panorama host Martin Bashir created fake bank statements before the November 1995 interview in an attempt to convince Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, to help negotiate an interview with the princess.

The report claimed that the fake bank statements were meant to show Spencer that a member of his staff was leaking information about their family in exchange for payment. The statements helped secure a meeting with Diana, a source close to Spencer said, according to the Sunday Times.

Princess Diana
| Credit: Getty Images

An internal investigation conducted in 1996 concluded that the faked papers had "no bearing" on the interview, PEOPLE previously reported.

Spencer then sent a scathing letter to the head of the BBC accusing the media outlet of "dishonesty."

“[The BBC] have yet to apologize for what truly matters here: the incredibly serious falsification of bank statements suggesting that Diana’s closest confidants were spying on her for her enemies," Spencer said in a statement to PEOPLE on November 3.

"This was what led me to talk to Diana about such things. This in turn led to the meeting where I introduced Diana to Bashir, on 19 September 1995. This then led to the interview," he said. "The BBC have so far refused to acknowledge the above. They claim Diana wasn’t misled. They have ignored my inquiry as to whether the apology over their false bank statements extends to the ones that actually persuaded Diana to meet Bashir."

On Wednesday, BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement that the outlet "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," Davie added. Lord Dyson said in a statement, "This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair."

In response to the Sunday Times report, the BBC previously said that internal records from the time of the interview showed "that the Princess of Wales confirmed in writing that these documents played no part in her decision to give [the interview]."

Last week, the BBC said apologies had been made to Spencer and it would hold a "robust and independent investigation."

Diana was infamously candid in the interview with Bashir, and opened up about her struggle with bulimia, the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, the pressures of wedding a future monarch and raising young sons. She died less than two years later at 36.