In an interview with the Sunday Times, the disgraced journalist said he is “deeply sorry” for the bombshell interview’s lingering effects on the royal family (particularly on Diana’s sons, Princes William and Harry), that he “loved” the late Princess and that he remained close with her, even after the Panorama segment aired.
At the same time, he rejected the findings of the inquiry, spearheaded by former Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson. “I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don’t believe we did,” Bashir told the Times. “Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents.”
Princes Harry and William, and Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, have suggested that Bashir’s interview was responsible for the Princess of Wales’ untimely death. The Duke of Sussex said recently that “our mother lost her life because of this,” while the Duke of Cambridge said the interview, and the controversy it engendered, “contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”
But from Bashir’s perspective, the claim that he is “singularly responsible” for Diana’s descent is “unreasonable and unfair.”
“To channel the tragedy, the difficult relationship between the Royal Family and the media purely on to my shoulders feels a little unreasonable,” he said.
Of course, Bashir wasn’t the only one caught up in the inquiry. The BBC was likewise censured for its “woefully ineffective” investigation into Bashir, after the 1995 interview debuted. While the broadcaster is currently facing governance reforms, it has apologized unreservedly for its part in the controversy.
The inquiry into Bashir and The BBC went on for six months, costing the UK broadcaster £1.4 million ($2M). Bashir, who originally worked for the BBC between 1986 and 1999, returned to the broadcaster in 2016 as a religious affairs correspondent. In May of 2021, though, he resigned, citing issues with his health.