West News Wire: The BBC apologized and paid Princess Diana’s private secretary a “substantial” payment on Thursday for using deception to obtain an explosive broadcast interview with the late princess.
The BBC’s national broadcaster admitted that the circumstances under which the 1995 interview, conducted by BBC journalist Martin Bashir, was obtained did “severe injury” to Patrick Jephson.
“The BBC expresses its sincere regret for the harm caused to Commander Jephson and has paid his legal costs,” it stated in a statement. “The BBC has also paid Commander Jephson a sizable sum in damages, which he plans to donate entirely to British charity of his choice.”
The 1995 interview, in which Diana discussed the breakdown of her relationship with Prince Charles famously saying “There were three of us in this marriage” in reference to Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles was watched by 23 million people in Britain and sent shockwaves through the monarchy.
A report last year by a retired senior judge found Bashir used “deceitful behavior” to get the interview, including showing Diana’s brother fake bank statements that falsely suggested members of Diana’s inner circle were being paid to spy on her. Judge John Dyson said the BBC obscured Bashir’s misconduct for 25 years.
Jephson said that “after more than 25 years, it is a relief finally to reach a conclusion to this painful episode.”
He said he would donate his settlement to a children’s hospice in Diana’s memory.
Diana divorced Charles in 1996 and died in a Paris car crash in 1997 as she was pursued by paparazzi. Charles, the heir to the throne, married Camilla, now the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005.
Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, tweeted that it was “appalling what Patrick Jephson had to go through as a result of grotesque ‘journalism’” and said the issue had been “covered up for so long by senior people” at the BBC.