Princess Diana interview ‘kept from BBC chairman’ over fears his wife would tell Queen all


PRINCESS DIANA’S bombshell interview with Panorama journalist Martin Bashir was reportedly kept secret from the BBC’s chairman over fears his wife would tell the Queen.

Princess Diana’s seismic interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir in 1995 shook the monarchy to its core and foreshadowed Prince Charles and Diana’s divorce in 1996. Now the circumstances under which Mr Bashir secured the interview are subject to an official BBC inquiry following claims he used deceit to obtain the iconic sitdown with the Princess of Wales.

Among sensational new claims to arise from the inquiry is one that BBC news executives reportedly concealed the interview from the organisation’s chairman at the time amid fears his wife might tell the Palace about it.

The inquiry is expected to be told that BBC editorial guidelines were deliberately breached as executives failed to inform the chairman of the scheduled Diana interview.

Editor of Panorama at the time of the interview in 1995 Steve Hewlett and Richard Ayre, controller of BBC editorial policy, are understood to have decided not to inform senior managers or the governing board about the interview.

According to the Times, a friend of Mr Ayre said the executives feared BBC chairman Marmaduke Hussey would inform his wife, Lady Susan Hussey.

Princess Diana interview

Princess Diana interview ‘kept from BBC chairman’ over fears his wife would tell Queen all (Image: GETTY)

Princess Diana interview

Princess Diana interview: The BBC has launched an official inquiry in reaction to claims Mr Bashir landed the interview through “deceit” (Image: GETTY)

Lady Susan Hussey was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen and godmother to Prince William.

The executives were also found to have breached BBC rules by failing to inform the broadcaster’s royal liaison unit because it was seen as being too close to the Palace.

Critics inside the BBC have claimed Mr Bashir avoided the standard strict editorial checks that risked uncovering his alleged wrongdoing in obtaining the interview.

During the interview that was broadcast on November 20, 1995, Diana revealed damaging truths about the collapse of her marriage to Prince Charles.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana: Former BBC chairman Marmaduke Hussey and Lady Susan Hussey (Image: GETTY)

More than 20 million viewers tuned in to watch the BBC Panorama programme, which was the first solo interview Diana had given since her marriage to Prince Charles

During the interview she openly referred to Charles’s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles saying there “were three people” in their marriage.

The Princess of Wales also admitted to having extramarital affair with Major James Hewitt and questioned Prince Charles’s suitability as King.

Asked by Mr Bashir: “Do you think the Prince of Wales will ever be King?”

Diana replied: “I don’t think any of us know the answer to that. And obviously, it’s a question that’s in everybody’s head.

“But who knows, who knows what fate will produce, who knows what circumstances will provoke?

She went on to say: “There was always conflict on that subject with him when we discussed it, and I understood that conflict, because it’s a very demanding role, being Prince of Wales, but it’s an equally more demanding role being King.

“And being Prince of Wales produces more freedom now, and being King would be a little bit more suffocating.

“And because I know the character I would think that the top job, as I call it, would bring enormous limitations to him, and I don’t know whether he could adapt to that.”

Princess Diana

Princess Diana: Lady Susan Hussey was one of the Queen’s Ladies in Waiting (Image: GETTY)


Addressing Diana’s mindset at the time she gave the interview in ITV’s The Diana Interview: Revenge Of A Princess documentary, royal biographer Andrew Morton, said: “Diana certainly was very concerned about the Secret Services, about MI5, about MI6.

“There were bizarre things going on inside the households of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

“Her bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, who left her service… felt that he was being followed.

“Her confidante, Richard Kay, a Daily Mail journalist, he was burgled several times and he took to employing a private detective.

“My own office was broken into, so there’s a catalogue of things.”

Speaking in another ITV documentary about the interview last month Mr Morton said: “What terrified Diana was that Marmaduke Hussey would put a stop to doing the interview.

“So it was absolutely necessary for Martin Bashir and his colleagues to be secretive.”

Addressing the inquiry, a BBC spokeswoman previously said: “A lot has been written and broadcast about the Princess of Wales’s interview in recent weeks.

“It is important that we have a view of what happened based on the evidence of everyone involved. Clearly that has not yet been able to happen.

“But to be absolutely clear, the BBC is determined to get to the truth of what happened. That’s why we have appointed Lord Dyson to lead a fully independent investigation.

“It is vital that everyone with information shares that with Lord Dyson, so that he can investigate thoroughly and draw his conclusions having heard all the evidence.”


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