British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has supported an investigation into allegations that Princess Diana was emotionally manipulated during an investigative interview about infidelity in her marriage.
Charles Spencer, Diana’s brother, has, he claims, presented evidence that BBC journalist Martin Bashir took advantage of her fragile emotional state by falsifying financial records suggesting aid workers had betrayed her.
In a letter to the company, Spencer said that without these forgeries, Diana would never have selected him for an interview in 1995.
In footage that made headlines around the world, the Princess first spoke of her husband Prince Charles cheating on her and admitted that she too had been unfaithful.
Diana said to Bashir, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded”.
The BBC told Washington Newsday last week that it would “investigate with vigor and fairly substantial new information,” and Johnson backed the move yesterday.
Quoted in The Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “As a public service broadcaster, we expect BBC journalists to maintain high standards.
“The Director General has stated that there must be an investigation into this, and the Prime Minister believes this is the right course of action”.
The investigation comes as fans of The Crown prepare to see Diana portrayed by Emma Corrin in the fourth season of the Netflix show, which airs on Sunday.
The controversy over the 1995 interview erupted after a documentary film produced for the 25th anniversary exposed fake financial newspapers in which two palace helpers had accepted bribes.
Charles Spencer wrote to the BBC demanding an apology and an investigation.
He sent the company a copy of a fax that Bashir said Bashir had sent him, in which he made false claims that Prince Charles had slept with the nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke.
Bashir’s note, leaked to the Daily Mail, read: “There are rumors of recurring intimacy between [Legge-Bourke] and a certain person.
“An aide witnessed outdoor car chases of a different kind. She is very interested in diverting a lot of attention.
“Therefore, last night it was decided to authorize a friend to say the following: Her weight loss is not due to her feelings for a certain person and his desire to have a figure like an orphan, but to a gluten intolerance, which means that she cannot eat wheat or any bread substance.
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“She was repeatedly bombarded with annoying messages on her pager.
“There is strong suggestion that these come from an angry source. There can only be one obvious culprit…”
There were rumours at the time that the Prince of Wales had impregnated Legge-Bourke and “only an obvious culprit” was interpreted as a reference to Diana.
Last week Spencer said he made the introduction between Bashir and Diana after seeing the fake financial reports.
In his letter, which was also leaked to the Daily Mail, he said, “If I had not seen these statements, I would not have introduced Bashir to my sister.
“In return, he would have remained just one of thousands of journalists, hoping that he/she would have had a tiny chance to get them to talk to them, with no realistic prospect of doing so.
Director General Tim Davie said: “The BBC takes this very seriously and we want to find out the truth.
“We are about to commission a robust and independent investigation.
The BBC said in a statement: “Martin Bashir is being discharged by his doctors – he is currently recovering from four heart bypass surgeries and has significant complications because he had COVID-19 earlier this year.