Since 1995, Prince Charles has tried to do anything he can to discredit, erase, delegitimize and nullify Princess Diana’s Panorama interview. When Diana’s interview aired, it was a cataclysmic event for the monarchy. Frankly, it was much, much bigger than the Sussexes’ Oprah interview, although both interviews share similar threads about how Charles sucks and the institution is in major trouble after the Queen passes. In recent years, the focus has been on how Martin Bashir landed the interview and what he said and did to “convince” Diana to grant him the interview. This is where Prince William entered the narrative, and began bizarrely parroting his father’s views that his mother was a paranoid liar and everything she said was a false narrative. Both Charles and William want the Panorama interview buried forever. The BBC has already said that they will never air it again. And yet… the interview lives on. Selections from the interview appear in The Princess, which will air on HBO and (as it turns out) Sky in the UK.
The disgraced Panorama interview in which Diana, Princess of Wales told Martin Bashir of her belief there was a “campaign” being waged against her is to be aired again, in defiance of the Duke of Cambridge’s wishes. Clips from the 1995 interview will be included in The Princess, a new documentary film to be broadcast by Sky and NOW TV next month.
They show the late Princess describing her marriage, how the monarchy should change, and how she believed there was a campaign being “waged against” her for her refusal to “go quietly”. It has since emerged that the interview was obtained unethically, with fabricated claims and faked “evidence” used by Bashir and his team to secure the world exclusive confessional.
The Duke has asked that the discredited footage be banned from the airwaves. “It is my firm view that this Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again,” the Duke said in May 2021.
It will come just weeks after the BBC’s director-general apologised again for the interview, vowing the corporation would not show the Panorama episode in full again, with only “few and far between” reasons for extracts to be used for journalistic purposes. He urged other broadcasters to “exercise similar restraint”.
The BBC on Thursday distanced itself from the new film, saying it had not granted any live or outstanding licences for “any or all” of the interview to be aired. The Princess, a documentary film created using archive footage of Diana’s life, will air on Sky Documentaries and NOW from August 14. It will not provide any context to the Bashir interview, interspersing clips with contemporary news bulletins and footage of members of the public watching it in the pub and reacting afterwards. A Sky spokesperson said filmmakers believe it tells the story of the late Princess in an “unmediated way…The interview will remain in the documentary. As the film aims to tell Diana’s story through archive material as it occurred, it is not influenced by the context of what we know now, about this, or any other event.”
When I covered the trailer, I did wonder (to myself) if director Ed Perkins would use anything from the Panorama interview. I’m glad he did, and I’m glad he also seems to be using archival footage of people watching the interview in pubs, and their real-time reactions to it. Diana absolutely kneecapped the f–k out of Charles and correctly identified the institution’s refusal to change, to modernize, to stop smearing her. As for all of this happening without William’s approval or whatever… how strange it is that anyone genuinely thinks that William would need to give his approval, really. He’s made his f–ked up case loudly and bullied the BBC into never showing the interview again. But his mother’s story will still be told, over and over again. Her legacy lives on. Just not in William.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.