Earl Spencer shares poignant black and white childhood Diana picture
‘Some bonds go back a very long way’: Earl Spencer shares poignant black and white childhood Diana picture hours before report exposed depths of Martin Bashir’s deception
- Earl Charles Spencer posted the black and white archive image on Twitter today
- He posted the photo alongside the words: ‘Some bonds go back a very long way’
- The photograph shows the siblings sat side by side in the summer in swimsuits
- His post came before official inquiry into Bashir’s behaviour published Thursday
Princess Diana’s brother shared a picture of the pair of them as children hours before a report was published on Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview.
Earl Spencer posted the black and white archive image on Twitter, alongside the words: ‘Some bonds go back a very long way.’
The photograph shows the siblings sat side by side in the summer sun, with a young Charles Spencer wearing trunks and Diana in a swimsuit.
His post came just hours before the official inquiry into Bashir’s behaviour was published on Thursday afternoon.
It concluded he used ‘deceitful behaviour’ and was in ‘serious breach’ of the BBC’s producer guidelines to secure his interview with the Princess of Wales.
Earl Spencer posted the black and white archive image on Twitter, alongside the words: ‘Some bonds go back a very long way’
The photograph shows the siblings sat side by side in the summer sun, with a young Charles Spencer (left at Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018) wearing trunks and Diana appearing to be in a swimsuit. Right is disgraced BBC journalist Martin Bashir
The BBC ‘fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark’ in a subsequent investigation, according to the report by Lord Dyson.
The former master of the rolls and head of civil justice was appointed to look into the circumstances surrounding the explosive 1995 interview, which famously featured Diana saying: ‘Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.’
Bashir breached BBC rules by mocking up fake bank statements and showing them to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, to gain access to the princess, the report said.
In response to Lord Dyson’s findings, Bashir apologised, saying the faking of bank statements was ‘an action I deeply regret’ but added he felt it had ‘no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview’.
Senior BBC executives were criticised over a 1996 internal investigation which examined the mocked-up documents relating to the earl’s former employee, as it tried to determine whether or not the princess had been misled, with a key piece of evidence, a note from Diana, suggesting she had not.
The report said: ‘Without justification, the BBC fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark by covering up in its press logs such facts as it had been able to establish about how Mr Bashir secured the interview and failing to mention Mr Bashir’s activities or the BBC investigations of them on any news programme.’
Mr Bashir is accused of using the fake bank statements to gain Earl Spencer’s trust
Lord Dyson was commissioned six months ago to examine whether Princess Diana would have given the historic 1995 interview had it not been for Mr Bashir’s underhand tactics
Last November the BBC commissioned former Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson (pictured) to probe allegations that the corporation covered up the trail of deceit by its reporter
On just one sheet, toxic accusations that made Diana’s suspect her own team
Pictured, Spencer kept detailed notes
1) Bashir’s opening gambit that three members of MI6 had told him Prince Charles’s private secretary Richard Aylard was ‘orchestrating’ things surrounding Diana. This involved Ken Wharfe, Diana’s former bodyguard, described as ‘scum’.
2) Aylard, it was claimed, had been paid by the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby. A decision to reinvent the prince had been taken by aides two years earlier. A year later this allegedly included attacking both Diana and the Spencer family.
3) MI6 agents had recordings of Prince Charles and Aylard talking in which the phrase ‘the end game’ was uttered, thought to refer to a divorce between the prince and princess. Diana also said she would not agree to a divorce.
4) Spencers’ reputation to be destroyed. In another remark recorded by Lord Spencer, Bashir claimed Prince Charles wanted Spencer’s then wife, Victoria, dead. Diana meanwhile would be forced to move to America — possibly with her brother.
5) This relates to the stories during 1995 of the close friendship between Diana and the married England rugby captain Will Carling. Spencer notes Bashir’s assertion that the newspaper stories had been ‘fed’ by Carling’s wife Julia.
Earl Spencer’s devastating dossier, which was handed to Lord Dyson, included preposterous falsehoods about the royals and senior courtiers. Lord Spencer’s handwritten log of the meeting includes a note saying: ‘Camilla: depressed, but quiet for time being.’ There was also some ‘v. unpleasant correspondence’ involving Prince Philip and the suggestion that Diana had been ‘followed twice’ in her car. Bashir is accused of effectively grooming the vulnerable princess by playing to her worst fears.
At the meeting, Bashir allegedly brandished bank statements purportedly showing that Diana’s closest aides were selling her secrets. The Spencer files detail how Bashir allegedly told her that her car was tracked, her phone bugged and MI6 had overheard Prince Charles and his private secretary plotting ‘the end game’.
Other hurtful smears included that Charles and nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke went on a secret holiday together, he was ‘in love’ with Miss Legge-Bourke, and Prince Edward was having treatment for Aids at Royal Marsden Hospital. Earl Spencer concluded Bashir was a fantasist and apologised to his sister after the meeting for wasting her time.
Responding to the report, Bashir said: ‘This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago. I apologised then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up. It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret. But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and again more recently.’
Bashir, who was the BBC News religion editor, announced last week he was quitting the BBC on health grounds as he has been seriously unwell with Covid-19 related complications.
His statement further added: ‘I also reiterate that the bank statements had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview. Evidence handed to the inquiry in her own handwriting (and published alongside the report today) unequivocally confirms this, and other compelling evidence presented to Lord Dyson reinforces it. In fact, despite his other findings, Lord Dyson himself in any event accepts that the Princess would probably have agreed to be interviewed without what he describes as my ‘intervention’.
‘It is saddening that this single issue has been allowed to overshadow the Princess’ brave decision to tell her story, to courageously talk through the difficulties she faced, and, to help address the silence and stigma that surrounded mental health issues all those years ago. She led the way in addressing so many of these issues and that’s why I will always remain immensely proud of that interview.’
Former director-general Lord Tony Hall, who was director of BBC news and current affairs when the Diana interview was screened, apologised that the inquiry ‘fell well short of what was required’.
He said: ‘I have read Lord Dyson’s report, and I accept that our investigation 25 years ago into how Panorama secured the interview with Princess Diana fell well short of what was required.
‘In hindsight, there were further steps we could and should have taken following complaints about Martin Bashir’s conduct.
‘I was wrong to give Martin Bashir the benefit of the doubt, basing that judgment as I did on what appeared to be deep remorse on his part.
‘Throughout my 35-year career at the BBC, I have always acted in ways I believe were fair, impartial and with the public interest front and centre.
‘While Lord Dyson does not criticise my integrity, I am sorry that our investigation failed to meet the standards that were required.’
Diana’s Panorama interview in 1995 sent shockwaves through the monarchy with details about the state of her marriage to the Prince of Wales.
Earl Spencer claimed in the weeks before the programme Bashir showed him forged bank statements that related to alleged payments made to his sister’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson and another former royal household member by the security services.
The documents falsely suggested the individuals were being paid for keeping the princess under surveillance.
He also showed him mocked-up documents, relating to a former employee of the earl, Bashir also used as he tried to gain access to the princess.
‘Queen eats for comfort, Edward has AIDS, Camilla is depressed, Charles is in love with the Nanny’: How Earl Spencer’s scribbled notes from first meeting between Princess Diana and Martin Bashir became key evidence in Panorama probe
A jaw-dropping list of smears and lies allegedly peddled by Martin Bashir to clinch his sensational Princess Diana scoop was recorded by her brother – including the Queen ‘eating for comfort’ and Charles being in love with the family nanny.
Earl Spencer kept meticulous notes of a meeting held on September 19, 1995, when he introduced the BBC man to his sister at her Knightsbridge flat.
His devastating dossier was handed to Lord Dyson for his inquiry into the case, which is set to report at 2pm today. It includes preposterous falsehoods about the royals and senior courtiers that he is said to have used to help land the interview.
Earl Spencer’s records show that Bashir allegedly claimed that Diana’s private letters were being opened, her car tracked and phoned tapped with her bodyguard plotting against her, and close friends were betraying her.
Earl Spencer’s handwritten log of the meeting with Bashir at his sister’s flat in Knightsbridge also includes a note saying: ‘Camilla: depressed, but quiet for time being’.
In an execrable reference to Prince Edward, Spencer recorded Bashir as saying that the Queen’s youngest son was receiving treatment for Aids at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. Even the Queen was mentioned. Spencer noted Bashir as saying she was ‘very ill with heart problems’ and that she was a ‘comfort eater’.
Earl Spencer (left) kept detailed notes when he met Martin Bashir (seen right holding a Bafta award for his Diana interview) when he met the BBC journalist with Diana at his sister’s flat
Bashir is accused of effectively grooming the vulnerable princess by playing to her worst fears. Pictured is a still from the 1995 interview
From officials bugging Diana’s car to warnings her reputation would be ‘destroyed’: Earl Spencer’s handwritten scraps that could shred Bashir’s career
1: Diana’s ‘scum’ former bodyguard
Bashir’s opening gambit that three MI6 agents had told him Prince Charles’s private secretary Richard Aylard was ‘orchestrating’ things surrounding Diana. This involved Ken Wharfe, Diana’s former bodyguard, described as ‘scum’.
Diana was already paranoid her staff and friends were betraying her and, at the meeting, the broadcaster allegedly brandished bank statements purportedly showing her closest aides were selling her secrets.
2: Charles’ secretary ‘paid by Jonathan Dimbleby’
Aylard, it was claimed, had been paid by the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby. A decision to reinvent the prince had been taken by aides two years earlier. A year later this allegedly included attacking both Diana and the Spencer family.
3: Charles ‘discussing ”end game”’
The notes, handed to Lord Dyson, include allegations MI6 had recorded Prince Charles and his private secretary planning the ‘end game’ – an extraordinary and false hint the heir to the throne was plotting to ‘destroy’ the Spencers and force them to flee to the US.
Charles Spencer’s detailed notes, from one to five. The manila file contains notes of every meeting he had with Bashir, the logs of phone calls the BBC man made along with the faxes, the letters and even the gushing thank you cards that the reporter sent him
4: Spencers’ reputation ‘would be destroyed’
Spencers’ reputation to be destroyed. In another remark recorded by Earl Spencer, Bashir claimed Prince Charles wanted Spencer’s then wife, Victoria, dead. Diana meanwhile would be forced to move to America — possibly with her brother.
5: Will Carling affair claim
his relates to the stories during 1995 of the close friendship between Diana and the married England rugby captain Will Carling. Spencer notes Bashir’s assertion that the newspaper stories had been ‘fed’ by Carling’s wife Julia.
9: Diana’s car ‘bugged’
This note describes Bashir’s alleged claim that Diana had been bugged by officials
The claim that Diana’s cars and phone lines being bugged and her post intercepted would have increased her worries she was being spied on.
Bashir told Lord Dyson he would not have made these claims at a first meeting, the Telegraph reported.
17: Camilla ‘depressed’
Camilla was allegedly described by Bashir as ‘depressed, but quiet for the time being’. The second line refers to William and Harry’s nanny, Tiggy Legge-Bourke
In the interview, Diana made her feelings clear on Camilla, famously saying, ‘There are three of us in this marriage.’
Mentioning her could have been an attempt by Bashir to prompt her to speak out.
‘Tiggy’ is a reference to Tiggy Legge-Bourke, William and Harry’s nanny who Charles was accused of having an affair with in claims that were subsequently dismissed.
17b: Philip’s ‘v unpleasant correspondence’
Earl Spencer recorded Bashir as describing ‘very unpleasant correspondence’ allegedly sent by Prince Philip to Diana and Sarah Ferguson
This claims Diana had received ‘v unpleasant correspondence’ from Philip and suggests he was annoyed at her ‘hero status’.
It also references Edwina Mountbatten, the wife of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was known to have had affairs.
19: Fergie’s business deals in the US
Another reference to Sarah Ferguson, this time describing her trips to the US to try and forge a business career
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew divorced in 1996. This note refers to her numerous trips to the US to forge a business career.
It adds that Andrew still ‘look[ed] after her’ following their divorce by supporting her financially.
20: ‘Queen eats for comfort’
This note suggests the Queen was unwell, stating ‘Queen ill: heart’ and adds she ‘eats for comfort’.
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