Princess Diana’s Brother Accuses BBC of Fresh ‘Cover-Up’ Over Martin Bashir


Welcome to this week’s edition of Royalist, The Daily Beast’s newsletter for all things royal and Royal Family. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox every Sunday.

Diana’s brother calls out BBC ‘cover-up of the cover-up’

Princess Diana’s brother has said he believes senior individuals at the BBC are conducting a fresh “cover up” at the corporation concerning who knew what in the wake of Martin Bashir’s controversial 1995 interview with the princess. In an interview with the BBC Radio 4 show Broadcasting House on Sunday, Earl Charles Spencer said he believed that the senior executives conspired with Bashir even after 2020.

Spencer was speaking after investigative journalist Andy Webb won a freedom of information battle to force the BBC to hand over 3,288 emails which could throw light on an alleged ongoing cover-up at the corporation concerning Bashir’s controversial interview.

A judge this weekend ordered the documents to be released to Webb, who believes the documents could reveal how as recent as three years ago, senior BBC figures sought to obfuscate about the Corporation’s “woefully ineffective” investigation into Bashir.

On Broadcasting House, Spencer said that Webb was focused on the “cover up of the cover-up. This goes back to the autumn of 2020. I was told when I approached BBC management at that time that there was no way we could talk to Martin Bashir—he was too ill to talk and he was written off by doctors as such.

“But we know—we haven’t been able to read them yet—there are 38 emails between Bashir and senior people at the BBC at this time. My suspicion is that they were cooking up a story to try and make him unavailable during a time of particular interest in Diana’s interview, which was the 25th anniversary. And I believe that the people responsible for this cover-up were thinking, ‘If we can string this out long enough, keep Bashir ‘off games’ effectively for a few weeks, this thing will blow away.’”

Broadcasting House presenter Paddy O’Connell said to Spencer, “We haven’t seen these emails, and you will be speculating there.”

Spencer replied, “I’ve seen more than most. I’ve seen redacted emails that haven’t been released.”

A spokesperson for the BBC told the program: “The BBC fully accepted during the course of these proceedings that mistakes had been made in this case in the past. We have worked to improve our processes since, and we have apologized to Mr. Webb and the tribunal. We are currently considering the tribunal’s decision carefully, and it would not be appropriate to comment while the legal proceedings are ongoing.”

Bashir faked bank statements to fuel Diana’s paranoia that people close to her were selling her secrets, a 2021 report into the interview found. The report prompted Prince William to say the interview should never be shown again.

Webb, however, believes there is still more to the story and has sought the release of BBC internal emails. The BBC tried to avoid releasing them, but has now been ordered to do so.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, talks with his uncle Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, during the unveiling of a statue commissioned of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, Britain July 1, 2021.

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, talks with his uncle Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, during the unveiling of a statue commissioned of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, Britain July 1, 2021.

Dominic Lipinski/Pool via Reuters

In an article for the Mail on Sunday, Webb writes that the BBC “have fought tooth and nail to keep 3,000 documents…under wraps.”He adds: “I believe that in 2020, when the scale of Bashir’s deception finally began to emerge, senior figures currently running the BBC planned a completely new and cynical campaign to mislead the public about what was known about the reporter’s nefarious activities.”

These include, he says, a memo which attempted to discredit Diana’s brother, falsely saying Spencer had “colluded with Bashir” by showing Bashir “the bank statement of an ex-employee.” Spencer appeared to refer to this shocking allegation in the Broadcasting House interview, saying he believed the “various operatives” involved were “quite high up in the BBC because only people very high up could give authority to besmirch people’s names.”

Asked how he had reacted to the new episodes of The Crown depicting his sister’s death, Spencer told Broadcasting House: “I don’t watch The Crown actually… I think people now realize more than even three or four years ago how speculative the storylines are of The Crown so I think people are aware that this is fiction based on, loosely, on factual events … but yes it’s exhausting, and it’s always been that way.”

Spencer then returned to why he was challenging the BBC. “I see this as a point of principle. I believe the BBC should be guarded by responsible senior figures, and not hidden behind to protect their careers… Part of what I’m doing here… is a part of the legacy of my love for my younger sister.”

Happy (very different royal) Christmas

The royal Christmas cards are being seen for the first time, and they speak to two different generations and royal communication strategies. For William and Kate Middleton, a crisp and stylish black-and-white portrait of them with children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. It was taken by fashion photographer Josh Shinner. Kensington Palace released the image Saturday.

In a statement, the Palace said, “The Prince and Princess of Wales are very pleased to share a new photograph of their family. The photograph, which features on Their Royal Highnesses’ Christmas card this year, was taken by the photographer Josh Shinner earlier this year and shows The Prince and Princess with their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis in Windsor.”

A Kensington Palace spokesman told the Telegraph: “The Prince and Princess saw Josh’s work and wanted to capture a memorable family portrait.” Some have observed the similarities it holds with a Christmas card released by then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana featuring William and Prince Harry in 1992.

As for King Charles and Queen Camilla, their card features a Coronation-day photograph of them standing in their finery taken by official photographer Hugo Burnand in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace, just after the newly crowned king and queen returned to Palace from Westminster Abbey.

The images are the latest, easy-breezy salvo from the palace (following the glamor and smiles of Kate’s Westminster Abbey carol concert Friday) in the wake of Kate and Charles being named as the alleged “royal racists” who had “concerns” over the color of the then-unborn Prince Archie’s skin color. They were named in Dutch editions of Omid Scobie’s Endgame—the subject of an ongoing war of words between Scobie and his Dutch publisher. Scobie has now admitted the names were in early drafts of the book, but his Dutch publisher says his latest statements are “factually incorrect.”

Bryan Adams talks Princess Diana

In Bryan Adams’ fascinating interview this weekend with The Times of London, he first talks about his past of trying to help music stars like Amy Winehouse and Sinead O’Connor. Did he try to save Princess Diana too, Adams is asked.

Adams says, “Uh-oh,” “and goes very quiet.” Then: “Maybe, a bit.” He added: “We had a lot of really, really good conversations, I have to tell you. In fact it’s strange and surreal to think about. I really, really liked Diana, she was an amazing woman and a super-great inspiration. Meeting her was truly one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.”

Adams’ ex-girlfriend Cecilie Thomsen once said: “Ours was a stormy relationship and Bryan’s affair with Diana didn’t make it any easier. The affair was in 1996 after Diana’s divorce with Prince Charles.”

In a 1984 song, “Diana,” Adams had sung: “The day that he married you, I nearly lost my mind… Whatcha doing with a guy like him?” Then he suggests she try to escape the palace.

Bryan Adams arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Diana at the Guards' Chapel at Wellington Barracks in London, August 31, 2007.

Bryan Adams arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Diana at the Guards’ Chapel at Wellington Barracks in London, August 31, 2007.

Luke MacGregor/Reuters

He and Diana then met on a plane, he told the Times.

“She was sitting and I was standing. I said, ‘I used your name on a song once,’ and Diana said, ‘Yes, I know, very funny. Actually I’d like to hear it again.’ So I sent a copy to Kensington Palace, got an invitation to tea back and that’s how we became friends. When I first went round to KP [Kensington Palace] she wasn’t, like, ‘I really need to talk to somebody,’ and you don’t bulldoze into someone’s life wanting to know everything in the first ten minutes. It was, ‘Let’s have a cup of tea.’ But later the more friendly we got the more I learnt what was really going on ”

However, the song wasn’t written with any inside info. “The lyrics to Diana were just laddish humor,” Adams told the Times. “And actually the song was inspired by that guy who broken into the Queen’s bedroom and sat on her bed smoking a fag” (referring to Michael Fagan, who broke into the Queen Elizabeth’s bedroom in 1982). “Anyway, I retired it after Diana died out of respect to her and her boys.”

King’s top doctor is a champion of faith healing

King Charles has appointed a believer in faith healing and herbal remedies as head of the royal medical household.

According to a report in the British Sunday Times, Dr Michael Dixon, 71, a general practitioner based in Devon, succeeds three senior and highly conventional medics appointed by his mother, two of whom were professors of medicine at universities and one of whom was a former president of the Royal College of Physicians.

Dixon is described by the Times as an “outspoken” advocate of alternative medicine, who “has written papers which say that Christian healers, however ‘unfashionable,’ may be able to help the chronically ill,” and cited an “experiment suggesting Indian herbal cures ‘ultra-diluted’ with alcohol could kill breast cancer cells” as evidence homeopathy is not just a placebo effect.

King Charles III visits Aberdeen Town House to meet families who have settled in Aberdeen from Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine, in Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain October 17, 2022.

King Charles III visits Aberdeen Town House to meet families who have settled in Aberdeen from Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine, in Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain October 17, 2022.

Jane Barlow/Pool via Reuters

He has also advocated for “thought field therapy”, aromatherapy and reflexology and prescribed a plant based treatment known as horny goat weed for impotence. Dixon seems well aligned to Charles, who in 2006 told the WHO governments should “abandon their conventional mindset” when it came to drugs.

The Palace told the Sunday Times that Charles’s position on homeopathy had been “well documented,” and cited a previous article in which he wrote that it is “not about rejecting conventional medicines in favour of other treatments: the term ‘complementary’ medicine means precisely what it says.’”

It said: “Dr. Dixon does not believe homeopathy can cure cancer. His position is that complementary therapies can sit alongside conventional treatments, provided they are safe, appropriate and evidence based.”

Is Harry using ‘emotional blackmail’ on Charles?

Where are royal relations at in the wake of the publication of Omid Scobie’s Endgame, which named the so-called ‘royal racists’ in a now-pulped Dutch edition? Not great, it seems.

The Sun reported this week on a source saying: “The king has said that will not be emotionally blackmailed by his own son. He is not concerned by the book and remains full of energy.”

This week, Harry argued that he and his children should have full police protection in the U.K. to enable them “to feel at home” in England, and for Harry to spend more time in the land of his birth, a prospect which, a source told The Daily Beast, would be as welcome as “warm sick” to William and Kate.

Shakira quits Earthshot

The singer Shakira, who recently avoided jail after settling a $15 million tax dispute with Spain, has quit the judging panel of Prince William’s Earthshot prize. Representatives of the prize told the British Sunday Times her departure from the Earthshot prize council, of which she was a founder member, was merely a function of the panel’s rotating nature.

Also off the panel is a Brazilian footballer, Dani Alves, who is in custody in Spain awaiting trial on charges of sexual assault.

Colombian singer Shakira and her lawyer Pau Molins arrive at court for her trial facing allegations of tax fraud, in Barcelona, Spain November 20, 2023.

Colombian singer Shakira and her lawyer Pau Molins arrive at court for her trial facing allegations of tax fraud, in Barcelona, Spain November 20, 2023.

Albert Gea/Reuters

William told the BBC in 2021. “We tried to get people who genuinely cared for the environment, but were also influences around the world and Shakira has been brilliant at highlighting the plight of the oceans. She cares deeply about the pollution and she spends a lot of time at the beach. She’s a big surfer and her family, she wants them to enjoy the beach and other families to enjoy the water.”

An Earthshot Prize spokesman told the Sunday Times: “Shakira completed her three-year term as a member on the Earthshot prize council in October. We are very grateful to her for her commitment to the prize, including through her participation in the 2021 landmark series. The prize council members’ terms are staggered to enable continuity alongside new additions.”

This week in royal history

On December 11, 1936, Edward VIII officially abdicated, and his brother, George VI—father of the late Queen Elizabeth—became king.

Unanswered questions

How will the BBC respond to Earl Spencer’s fresh allegations of a cover-up around Martin Bashir? Will the royals do anything about Charles and Kate being named as the alleged “royal racists” in the Dutch edition of Endgame, or will it be happy smiles—and doing and talking just about anything else—going forward?

Post source: TDB

Share post:



More like this