Princess Diana's Brother Misled by BBC's Martin Bashir to Help Secure Infamous Interview: Report

Charles Spencer was first approached by Bashir about three months before the interview, a new report claims

Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana
Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana. Photo: Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Princess Diana's stunning interview with the BBC, in which she claimed there were “three of us” in her marriage to Prince Charles, was arranged under a “false pretext," according to a new report.

The Sunday Times claims that Diana’s interview with Martin Bashir for BBC1 Panorama was obtained after he tapped into her fears that she was being tracked by security services.

Bashir showed what the outlet says were two false statements to Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, to convince him to help negotiate a chat with the princess.

The groundbreaking interview aired almost 25 years ago in November 1995, amid the fallout of Diana’s marriage to Charles.

Now, the Sunday Times claims documents show a former member of Earl Spencer’s staff receiving payments for information.

charles spencer, princess diana
Charles Spencer and Princess Diana. Amanda Edwards/WireImage; Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty

Spencer was first approached by Bashir about three months before the interview, and the journalist said that he was investigating media behavior. The documents, made to look like real bank statements, helped secure a meeting with Diana, a source close to Spencer said, according to the Sunday Times.

The BBC told the Sunday Times Bashir is unwell and unable to respond: “Questions surrounding Panorama’s interview with the Princess of Wales and in particular the ‘mocking-up’ of bank statements, were covered in the press at the time. BBC records from the period indicate that Martin had explained to the BBC that the documents had been shown to Earl Spencer, and that they were not shown to the Princess of Wales. The BBC’s internal records from the time indicate that Martin had met the Princess of Wales before the mocked-up documentation existed. These accounts also say that the Princess of Wales confirmed in writing that these documents played no part in her decision to give [the interview].”

Spencer himself has not commented on the allegations against Bashir in The Times.

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Diana touched on everything from her battle with bulimia to Prince Charles' affair in the 1995 sit-down interview. Breaking away from the royal family's practice of keeping a "stiff upper lip," Diana spoke candidly about the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, the pressures of wedding a future monarch and raising young sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

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