LONDON — Prince William has welcomed an investigation into how Britain’s public broadcaster secured a bombshell interview with his mother, Princess Diana, 25 years ago, following accusations she was tricked into taking part.
Late Wednesday, the prince’s office issued a statement saying that the Duke of Cambridge “tentatively welcomed” an independent inquiry into the 1995 BBC Panorama show interview with his mother.
“The independent investigation is a step in the right direction,” William said in the statement.
“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 landmark interview, watched by 20 million at the time, shocked the nation as Diana shared intimate details of her failed marriage to heir-to-the-throne, Prince Charles.
The investigation will be led by a former Supreme Court justice, the BBC said in a statement on Wednesday, and will focus on how the broadcaster obtained the interview and whether executives covered up any wrongdoing.
“The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said. “That is why we have commissioned an independent investigation.”
The broadcaster said the investigation would start straight away and that it would hand over all relevant records, and publish a report at its conclusion.
Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics
Two years before Diana’s 1997 death in a car crash in a tunnel in Paris, she gripped a nation fascinated by glimpses of inner royal life when she shared details of her unhappy marriage.
She told correspondent Martin Bashir that “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” a reference to Charles rekindling his relationship with his now-second-wife, Camilla.
The BBC interview came under fresh scrutiny this month after a new documentary, “The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess,” alleged that Bashir used dishonest tactics to earn the princess’s trust.
It claimed that Bashir, currently the BBC’s religion editor after working for a time at ABC News and MSNBC, had a graphic-designer create fake bank statements, which he allegedly used to convince Diana’s brother that royal employees were being paid to spy on her.
Diana’s brother and William’s uncle, Charles Spencer, has tweeted his demand for an apology from the BBC for what he said were forged documents, which led him to introduce Bashir to his sister.
Bashir has not spoken publicly about the latest claims and did not respond to an NBC News request for comment.
He is currently recovering from heart surgery and complications of Covid-19, the BBC said in a statement.
An internal investigation by the BBC after the original broadcast concluded that Bashir did not coerce Diana into giving the interview. The new inquiry is tasked with examining that investigation too.
The release of the fourth season ofNetflix’s “The Crown” series on Sunday, which for the first time features Diana’s character, has also heighted international interest in her life.
Reuters contributed to this report.