BBC pays more than £1m to charity over controversial 1995 Princess Diana interview

Officials at the BBC said on Friday that the broadcaster had donated more than £1m to charity through a 1995 interview with Princess Diana.

Princess Diana Panorama Interview

22.8 million people watched the “Panorama” interview in which Diana described Prince Charles’ infidelity at her wedding. (Photo: BBC)

The BBC said on Friday it was donating sales proceeds from a 1995 interview with Princess Diana to charity.

The “Panorama” interview was watched by 22.8 million people, in which Diana described infidelity in her marriage to her heir, Prince Charles.

Retired senior judge John Tyson said in an independent report published in May that BBC journalist Martin Bashir had ordered him to falsify bank statements and then forced him to appear before the princess’s brother.

The British broadcaster said on Friday it had paid a total of £1.42 million ($1.64 million) to seven charities associated with the princess.

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Homeless charities include the English National Ballet, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, the Leprosy Mission and the National Aids Trust.

“Having regard to Lord Tyson’s findings, we think this is a proper and appropriate course of action,” the corporation said.

Questions have long been asked about how Bashir persuaded Diana to speak on the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme, which has won a string of television awards.

In it, she famously claimed that “there were three people” in her marriage – she, Charles, and his long-time mistress and now-wife Camilla Parker Bowles, who also admitted to adultery.

Bashir was relatively unknown at the time of the interview, but gained a high-profile career on American television networks interviewing stars such as Michael Jackson.

He apologized for falsifying bank statements to claim payments had been made to Diana’s closest confidants, saying he was “deeply sorry”.

But, he said, “Princess Diana had no influence on her personal choice to participate in the interview.”

Diana and Charles formally divorced in 1996. He died the following year in Paris at age 36 in a high-speed car crash while being chased by paparazzi photographers. Charles married Camilla in 2005.

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