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Princess Diana’s Brother Earl Spencer Says He Was ‘Groomed’ By BBC’s Martin Bashir


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BBC should face police investigation, Diana’s brother says

Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, who was shown forged bank statements by Martin Bashir suggesting her staff were betraying her and falsely told Charles had got William and Harry’s nanny pregnant, has directly linked her famous BBC Panorama interview to her death. Spencer has also called for a police investigation into the BBC and Bashir, who he says “groomed” him to get access to his sister.

The police have previously said there was not enough evidence to open a criminal investigation into Bashir, but, writing in the Mail on Sunday, Spencer urged them to reconsider.

His fresh intervention came days after the BBC apologised to Tiggy Legge-Bourke over “false and malicious” allegations made by Bashir to Spencer that she got pregnant by Prince Charles and had an abortion. She received around $240,000 in damages.

Spencer writes in Sunday’s paper: “I feel that I was groomed… shown forged bank statements; I was told of underhand payments, of spying, and of appalling deception. But, all along I was the one being deceived in order for Mr Bashir to get to my late sister.”

He added that Diana was “extremely vulnerable” when at the time because secret information was appearing in the press. He speculated that she may have been an early victim of phone hacking.

He then directly linked the interview to her death.

He added: “The agonizing lies that she was told by the BBC before their cameras finally rolled ensured that she came into that Panorama interview with a very skewed and false view of the situation she was in, having been lied to repeatedly.

“This led to her speaking in a way that set her on a course where she was without due protection when she needed it most. All those responsible must be held to account.”

I hope the police will reconsider their responsibilities in this matter. Only they have the power to get to the bottom of this terrible scandal, which led Diana to feel even more exposed and alone.

Earl Spencer

He added: “I hope the police will reconsider their responsibilities in this matter. Only they have the power to get to the bottom of this terrible scandal, which led Diana to feel even more exposed and alone, and deceived her into forgoing those who cared for her and would have protected her.”

Diana ditched the U.K. police protection she was entitled to in favor of her boyfriend Dodi Fayed’s private security team after the interview.

There is also coverage of the interview in The Times, which reports that Prince William is “frustrated” at the BBC’s refusal to completely disavow the interview. Although the BBC has pledged to not show the interview in full again, it said “short extracts for journalistic purposes” were still on the cards. The Times said that William still feels “a lot of hurt and pain” over the scandal.

In a video-taped statement last year, William described his “indescribable sadness” that “the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to the fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”

The Mail said the BBC had declined to comment on Earl Spencer’s article, but did not say if it had contacted the police for comment on his appeal for a criminal investigation. The Daily Beast has reached out to Bashir’s representatives for comment.

Earlier this week, former royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke accepted a damages payment of £200,000 ($238,000) from the BBC over “false and malicious claims” Bashir made to Diana that Prince Charles had had an affair with her.

BBC director general, Tim Davie, said in a statement: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologize publicly to her, to The Prince of Wales, and to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives. It is a matter of great regret that the BBC did not get to the facts in the immediate aftermath of the program when there were warning signs that the interview might have been obtained improperly.”

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II at the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 26, 2018 in London, England.

John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan and Harry may be invited to Balmoral

Queen Elizabeth has reportedly invited Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and their children Archie and Lilibet to be guests at Balmoral this summer. But, the Sun on Sunday reports, if they go it is unlikely they will see other royals.

The queen is staying for ten weeks at seven-bed Craigowan Lodge, the Sun said. A Balmoral insider told the paper: “Staff have been told to expect the full list of royals including Harry, Meghan and their children Archie and Lilibet. They are preparing for the Sussexes.”

Another insider told the Sun: “Balmoral is the perfect place for them to spend a little bit of quality time with the Queen. They barely had 15 minutes with her at the jubilee.”

But another source poured cold water on the reported olive branch being offered: “I would be stunned if they did turn up.”

As The Daily Beast reported Friday, the full royal guest list at Balmoral this summer is unknown, though the long sojourn means Harry and Meghan and their kids could easily spend time there with the queen without crossing over, say, with Prince William and Prince Charles, with whom relations are still, ahem, frosty.

Subscribe here to get all the latest royal news and gossip with Tom Sykes and Tim Teeman.

Prince George is Prince William’s mini-me

When Prince George turned 9 on Friday, the world as one had one thought: he so looks like dad Prince William at the same age. Mom Kate took the lovely picture of George—during a recent U.K. family holiday, George wearing a light blue T-shirt—and then vintage photos of his father, like the one below, delighted in the visual comparison.

Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince William enjoy some refreshments at Windsor Great Park on June 01, 1991, a few weeks before he turned 9.

Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Middletontown?

Kate Middleton’s sister Pippa has been running a petting zoo and mini-safari park in Bucklebury, the village where she grew up, for several years now. But as ever with the enterprising Middletons, plans are being dreamed up for bigger and better things. The Mail on Sunday, citing planning documents, says Pippa now plans to redevelop the 77-acre Bucklebury Farm Park, adding a cafe and cabins for overnight stays. The Mail says: “The whole site will be festooned with twinkly lanterns.”

Of course it will!

Prince Charles steps in for mom

Prince Charles is once again stepping in for his mother, this time to open the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Tuesday next week. Few had expected the queen to make the trip from Balmoral given her recent health stresses, but the announcement is yet another sign of the inevitability of changing times.

Who really landed ‘Newsnight’s’ big fish?

A fresh row has broken out over Prince Andrew’s disastrous Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis. BBC insiders are expressing anger at producer Sam McAlister’s book on the interview which they say glorifies her role at the expense of others who worked on the show.

The Telegraph quotes a BBC source as saying: “There is internal disappointment because it is not the done thing to expose how you go about these journalistic practices and also because a lot of people who did a considerable amount of work on this show are being written out of the process in pursuit of one person’s career. Former colleagues find that disappointing.”

The fact that these irritated comments have only surfaced after McAlister landed a film deal for her book, however, lends them top notes of the unmistakeable odor of sour grapes.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York attends the QIPCO King George Weekend at Ascot Racecourse on July 27, 2019 in Ascot, England.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

And more on that (alleged) Andy picture

The same Telegraph article also weighs in on claims that a stills photographer working for Newsnight captured a “shocking” photograph of Andrew which would embarrass him were it to surface. The Telegraph says the claim has been dismissed as “nonsense,” by sources. The word used to the Royalist by one source was the more fruity, Anglo Saxon term, “bollocks.”

This week in royal history

On July 29, 1981, Prince Charles and Princess Diana married at St Paul’s Cathedral, she in a billowing meringue of an Emanuel dress, the world rapt at what they saw as a fairytale. Subsequent events unfolded otherwise. On a cheerier note, on July 30, 2011, Zara Phillips married Mike Tindall at Edinburgh’s Canongate Kirk, so happy 11th anniversary to them!

Unanswered questions

Will Harry and Meghan and famille head to Scotland, and if they do, will they do so NOT at a time that intersects with anyone else?

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