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BBC Princess Diana interview: Prince Harry not satisfied with probe

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Prince Harry has welcomed an investigation into Martin Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana as a ‘drive for truth’, it emerged last night.  

The Duke of Sussex has been closely following developments around the growing scandal over the 1995 edition of BBC Panorama, according to the Times.

A source told the newspaper: ‘Harry is getting regular updates and is aware of everything that is happening.

‘You do not need a public statement to imagine how he is feeling privately, people know how much his mother means to him.

‘He has bravely spoken out in the past about loss and grief, and the immense impact it has had on him.’

Prince William earlier in the week said the independent investigation into the interview is a ‘step in the right direction’.

The Duke of Sussex is understood to be in close contact with his uncle Earl Spencer, who has accused the BBC of ‘sheer dishonesty’ for showing him falsified bank accounts ahead of the 1995 interview that sent shockwaves through the royal family.

The statements purport  – entirely wrongly – that two senior courtiers were being paid by the security services for information on Diana, in the hope it would win Bashir an introduction to the princess.

Since the accusations, the broadcaster has launched an investigation into the interview with retired judge, Lord Dyson, former master of the rolls, to spearhead the probe.

While Prince William has come out in support of the probe – calling it a ‘step in the right direction’ – Prince Harry has kept largely quiet.

But now, sources have revealed that the Duke of Sussex – gets ‘regular updates and is aware of everything that is happening’ while he remains in his $14 million California mansion.

Prince Harry (pictured) sees the BBC's inquiry into Martin Bashir's Diana interview as a 'dive for truth', sources claim, as the Princess's brother says he is 'not at all satisfied' with the probe so far

Prince Harry (pictured) sees the BBC’s inquiry into Martin Bashir’s Diana interview as a ‘dive for truth’, sources claim, as the Princess’s brother says he is ‘not at all satisfied’ with the probe so far

Prince Harry is understood to be in close contact with his uncle Earl Spencer (pictured together in 2004), who has accused the BBC of 'sheer dishonesty' for showing him falsified bank accounts ahead of the 1995 interview that sent shockwaves through the royal family

Prince Harry is understood to be in close contact with his uncle Earl Spencer (pictured together in 2004), who has accused the BBC of ‘sheer dishonesty’ for showing him falsified bank accounts ahead of the 1995 interview that sent shockwaves through the royal family

Sources have revealed that the Duke of Sussex (pictured with his mother) - gets 'regular updates and is aware of everything that is happening' while he remains in his $14 million Santa Barbara mansion

Sources have revealed that the Duke of Sussex (pictured with his mother) – gets ‘regular updates and is aware of everything that is happening’ while he remains in his $14 million Santa Barbara mansion

He took to Twitter to say he was 'not at all satisfied' with the scope of the BBC inquiry into the interview

He took to Twitter to say he was ‘not at all satisfied’ with the scope of the BBC inquiry into the interview

Princess Diana’s pal blasts ‘criminal’ BBC

One of Princess Diana‘s closest friends last night accused the BBC of ‘making a lot of money’ from a ‘criminal offence’.

Rosa Monckton praised Prince William for standing up for his mother – and welcomed the new inquiry into how Diana was ‘coerced’ into giving her famous Panorama interview.

Miss Monckton said reporter Martin Bashir’s ‘dishonest’ methods for clinching his 1995 exclusive ‘did change the course of history’.

Diana, who died two years later, had become ‘jumpy’ and ‘edgy’ and thought she was being followed after Bashir fed her callous lies about MI5 and Prince Charles, her friend said.

In an explosive interview on ITV News, Miss Monckton said: ‘For (William) and for Kensington Palace to issue a statement, I think shows how deeply involved he has become in this story and about how his mother was treated.

‘It’s very important that we look at it 25 years on. It did change the course of history.

‘I know people are saying she would have done an interview anyway, but she hadn’t and she didn’t and… she always said no.’

Bashir is accused of feeding Diana a string of lies about the royals and courtiers to gain her trust. 

He allegedly said her staff were betraying her to MI5 and newspapers, that Prince Charles was having an affair with nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke and had plotted the ‘end game’, and dozens of other baseless smears.

He allegedly gained access to Diana by showing her brother Earl Spencer forged bank statements indicating his staff were being bribed. 

Miss Monckton said: ‘The fact that she was coerced into doing this, in such a dishonest way…

‘Look what happened to the News of the World – (it) closed down because they committed a criminal act by tapping people’s telephones, and the editor went to prison. The BBC has made a lot of money from this programme. 

‘Bashir’s career has ridden on this programme. But they used fraudulent documents to persuade Diana to do this. That also is a criminal offence.’ 

The BBC is said to have banked £1 million from selling the rights to the Diana interview around the world. There have been calls for Scotland Yard to investigate.

In her interview last night, Miss Monckton said Bashir’s alleged grooming of the princess coincided with a change in her friend. 

She added: ‘She was jumpy, she was edgy, she thought she was being followed. I mean really, extraordinarily different. Everybody knew something was wrong but none of us could put a finger on it.

‘There is no doubt in my mind at all. Mr Bashir had persuaded her that she was doing a good thing, that everybody was conspiring against her, the security service etc.

‘And she took it all in. She was vulnerable. It was a disgusting and disgraceful thing to do.

‘All that matters is he is a major part of the inquiry. Whatever damage has been done to the Royal Family, damage to our national broadcaster has been much worse.’

 

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A source told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Harry is getting regular updates and is aware of everything that is happening.

‘You do not need a public statement to imagine how he is feeling privately, people know how much his mother means to him.’

Hitting out at critics who perceived Harry’s lack of official statement as a sign of a rift between the brothers, the insider added: ‘Sadly, some people are not just seeing this as a drive for truth, but also trying to use this as an opportunity to try to drive a wedge between the brothers.’

The news that Harry – who stepped away from royal duties and moved to the US earlier this year –  is being kept up to date on the inquiry’s developments, his uncle Earl Spencer has said he is ‘not at all satisfied’ with the scope of the BBC inquiry, claiming that Lord Dyson should be able to ‘examine every aspect of this matter’. He has also written a letter to Mr Davie condemning the inquiry’s scope.

He earlier claimed that had it not been for the bank statements, he would not have ‘introduced Bashir’ to his sister, the then-Princess of Wales. 

He tweeted: ‘As I’ve told the BBC this evening, I’m not at all satisfied with the parameters they’ve set around their enquiry into the @BBCPanorama interview with Diana of 25 years ago tonight.

‘Lord Dyson must be free to examine every aspect of this matter, from 1995 to today, as he sees fit.’

The BBC has insisted that investigation has a sufficiently broad scope.

A spokesman for the corporation said: ‘The review is fully independent and the terms are suitably broad and wide-ranging.

‘We hope that everyone will support Lord Dyson’s work in establishing the truth.’  

It was announced with great fanfare on Wednesday that Lord Dyson, an eminent former Supreme Court judge, was the person to ‘unearth the truth’ by leading the inquiry.

It is understood that Earl Spencer has the utmost respect for Lord Dyson, a former Master of the Rolls, but does ‘not believe he has been given the tools to do the job’ properly.

He believes the inquiry’s ‘terms of reference’ are too tightly drawn to enable the retired judge to uncover the truth.

Earl Spencer is also understood to question the BBC’s insistence that Bashir is ‘too ill’ to answer questions – given he was allegedly spotted dining at the Reform Club in London last month.

A source close to Princess Diana’s brother said last night: ‘He is not going to sign up to this, in its present form.

‘He is impressed by Lord Dyson, who is one of the country’s most eminent former judges, but he does not believe he is going to be able to uncover the criminality involved because of the way the BBC has – very concerningly – tightly drawn up the terms of reference.

‘He wants to know if this is truly a public inquiry to get to the bottom of what happened, or if this whole thing has been dressed up to ensure the inquiry is hamstrung from the start. He is not going to endorse an investigation that lets anyone get away with what he clearly thinks is criminal action.’

Announcing Lord Dyson as head of the inquiry this week, Mr Davie said: ‘The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation.

‘Formerly Master of the Rolls and a justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Dyson is an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process.’ It drew immediate – and unprecedented – praise from the Duke of Cambridge. 

Determined to protect his mother’s legacy, William made an unusual intervention to say he welcomed the appointment of Lord Dyson. 

But since then, the BBC has stonewalled questions about exactly how its inquiry would operate.

A press officer assigned to answer questions failed to take calls or respond to emails.

The interview was watched by 23 million people and sent shockwaves through the Royal Family

The interview was watched by 23 million people and sent shockwaves through the Royal Family

Rosa Monckton, one of Princess Diana's closest friends, last night accused the BBC of 'making a lot of money' from a 'criminal offence'. Pictured: Miss Monckton with Diana in 1993

Rosa Monckton, one of Princess Diana’s closest friends, last night accused the BBC of ‘making a lot of money’ from a ‘criminal offence’. Pictured: Miss Monckton with Diana in 1993

The news that Harry is being kept up to date on the inquiry's developments, his uncle Earl Spencer (pictured) has said he is 'not at all satisfied' with the scope of the BBC inquiry, claiming that Lord Dyson should be able to 'examine every aspect of this matter'. He has also written a letter to Mr Davie condemning the inquiry's scope

The news that Harry is being kept up to date on the inquiry’s developments, his uncle Earl Spencer (pictured) has said he is ‘not at all satisfied’ with the scope of the BBC inquiry, claiming that Lord Dyson should be able to ‘examine every aspect of this matter’. He has also written a letter to Mr Davie condemning the inquiry’s scope 

Earl Spencer’s letter to Mr Davie has blasted apart any semblance of cooperation. It is understood that the peer has demanded to know whether the BBC is controlling the inquiry, which he could not go along with.

The peer has made it clear he would not wish to be put through the pain and stress of helping any inquiry that was less than a ‘forensic fact-finding mission’ – with potential criminality the key to the investigation.

Earl Spencer has revealed 32 jaw-dropping royal smears the BBC man fed Diana about how her staff were betraying her, her husband Prince Charles was cheating on her and MI5 spying on her – all to gain her trust.

Her close friend Rosa Monckton has accused the BBC of deploying ‘criminal’ tricks to clinch its historic Panorama interview which rocked the royal family when it aired in November 1995.

Miss Monckton says Bashir’s dishonest methods changed the course of history. Two years later, Diana was killed in a car crash, long after she had lost her Scotland Yard protection.

Pictured: Martin Bashir

Pictured: Martin Bashir

The Mail’s exclusive photographs show Mr Bashir charging his SUV at a petrol station while on sick leave from work after being struck by coronavirus in the summer and later undergoing a quadruple heart bypass operation

Despite the enormous pressure on the BBC to fix the scandal – and the clear resolve of its new director-general Mr Davie to decisively resolve it – the Mail understands that Lord Spencer claims he was not even consulted on the terms of reference of the new inquiry.

Had he been, he would have made it abundantly clear to Mr Davie they were not sufficient. 

The five tasks the BBC has set Lord Dyson all refer to events ‘at the time’ of Diana’s decision to give Panorama her explosive claims that ‘there were three of us in this marriage’, prompting the Queen to demand an urgent divorce with heir to the throne Prince Charles.

But Earl Spencer wants the inquiry to examine 1995 to 2020 to fully encompass the alleged cover-up mounted by chiefs including former director-general Lord Hall, who fully exonerated the BBC in a ‘whitewash’ 1996 inquiry.

On Thursday, TV watchdog Ofcom said it will not launch its own investigation into the BBC Panorama controversy, but will follow the independent inquiry ‘closely’.

The Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

The Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

Earlier this month, Earl Spencer accused the BBC of a ‘whitewash’ over faked bank statements said to have helped land the 1995 historic interview.

In a devastating letter, Charles Spencer expressed his outrage at the institution’s ‘sheer dishonesty’ and accused Mr Bashir of ‘yellow journalism’.

Earl Spencer also told director-general Tim Davie that Bashir showed him falsified bank accounts purporting to show – entirely wrongly – that two senior courtiers were being paid by the security services for information on his sister, in the hope it would win him an introduction to the princess.

Sick pay ‘is cheaper’ than suspending Martin Bashir

Despite facing a string of allegations of dishonesty, Martin Bashir still holds the title of BBC religion editor.

But the riddle of why he has not been suspended may have been solved – it is cheaper to keep him on reduced sick pay.

If the BBC suspended the veteran journalist until the inquiry into how he secured the Panorama interview with Princess Diana ends, he would be entitled to his full pay for the six months or more that Lord Dyson’s investigation is expected to take.

Mr Bashir’s salary is believed to be in six figures. 

Were he to be declared fit to work, his pay would be restored – but he would also face immediate calls to answer questions about accusations he lied to Diana and others involved in high-profile stories. 

He is off sick after catching coronavirus in the summer and having a quadruple heart bypass operation in September.

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He said the corporation owes both himself, the viewing public and, most importantly, the late princess a posthumous apology for the wholescale deception by a journalist working for its flagship news programme.

Bashir’s interview with Diana, in which she told him ‘there were three people in the marriage’ – a reference to her estranged husband’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles – attracted 23million viewers and was hailed as the greatest tell-all scoop of the 20th century.

But 25 years after she bared her soul, fresh allegations have emerged that the BBC obtained the scoop under a false pretext.

Earl Spencer said in an email on October 23: ‘If it were not for me seeing these statements, I would not have introduced Bashir to my sister.

‘In turn, he would have remained just one of thousands of journalists hoping that he/she had a tiny chance of getting her to speak to them, with no realistic prospect of doing so.’

Bashir has also been accused of exploiting the princess’s fears that her private conversations were being bugged by the secret services to garner a meeting.

The journalist first contacted Diana’s brother three months before the interview saying he was looking into ‘media ethics’. The earl went on to arrange a meeting between himself, his sister and Bashir at a friend’s apartment in London in September 1995.

He kept notes of the discussion and eventually warned his sister against dealings with Bashir over the sensational allegations he was making.

But by that time it was too late – and Diana was hooked.

The BBC eventually launched its own investigation into the faked document which concluded in April 1996 that: ‘The BBC has been able, independently, to verify that these documents were put to no use which had any bearing, direct or indirect, on the Panorama interview with the Princess of Wales.’ The review was overseen in part by Tony Hall, then head of news and current affairs, who retired as director-general in August.

But renewed publicity around the 25th anniversary of the interview and the airing again of the claims against Bashir, has prompted Earl Spencer to take up the cudgels again.

Following the news of Lord Dyson’s appointment as head of the inquiry, the Duke of Cambridge called the move ‘a step in the right direction’. 

He said: ‘The independent investigation is a step in the right direction. It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time.’  

Lord Dyson, 77, has said he will start his inquiry ‘straight away’ by interviewing corporation staff and having access to available records.

He also promised Mr Bashir a ‘thorough and fair’ investigation.  

The BBC approved Lord Dyson’s appointment after Tim Davie ordered an independent inquiry into allegations Mr Bashir fed Diana a string of lies and smears to obtain his exclusive interview with her.

Lord Dyson will also probe how much BBC bosses knew at the time and whether there was a cover-up and said: ‘This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair’. 

On Wednesday, Prince William began by ‘tentatively welcoming’ the inquiry.

In a statement issued by Kensington Palace, he said: ‘The independent investigation is a step in the right direction. It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time.’ Both brothers are now understood to be in close contact with their uncle Earl Spencer, who is said to providing them with regular updates on the progress of the investigation.

Prince Harry has previously described the trauma of his mother’s death, highlighting how even the flashbulbs of cameras take him ‘straight back’ to the tragedy.

He has pledged to ‘do everything we can to make sure that she’s never forgotten and carry on all of the special gifts, as such, that she portrayed while she was alive’.

The five key areas the BBC inquiry into the Martin Bashir scandal will cover  

Lord Dyson has been asked to investigate and report back on five key areas. 

He will interview BBC staff and have access to all their records. 

1. What steps did the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir take with a view to obtaining the Panorama interview on 20 November 1995 with Diana, Princess of Wales? This will involve a consideration of all the relevant evidence including (i) the mocked up bank statements purporting to show payments to a former employee of Earl Spencer (ii) the purported payments to members of the Royal Households; and (iii) the other matters recently raised by Earl Spencer not limited to the matters published in the Daily Mail on 7 November 2020.

2. Were those steps appropriate, having regard in particular to the BBC’s editorial standards prevailing at the time?

3. To what extent did the actions of the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir influence Diana, Princess of Wales’s decision to give an interview?

4. What knowledge did the BBC have in 1995 and 1996 of the relevant evidence referred to at paragraph 1 above?

5. Having regard to what was known at the time of its investigation in 1995 and 1996, how effectively did the BBC investigate the circumstances leading to the interview?

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Why William wants justice: He watched THAT Panorama interview in tears then raged at Diana. Now, after the Prince’s sensational intervention in the Martin Bashir scandal, will he blame the BBC – not his mother – for a grotesque betrayal? 

By Robert Lacey For The Daily Mail 

‘Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him.’ 

These are hardly the words any 13-year-old wants to hear fall from his mother’s lips on the subject of her extramarital boyfriend — especially not when they are shared with 23 million avid television viewers around the world. 

The boyfriend in question was the dashing Captain James Hewitt, William and Harry’s riding instructor.

Princess Diana‘s astonishingly candid November 1995 interview with Martin Bashir on Panorama shattered her relationship with the Royal Family

The interview also had an extraordinary impact on her elder son, William (pictured centre, right, with his parents and younger brother Prince Harry)

The interview also had an extraordinary impact on her elder son, William (pictured centre, right, with his parents and younger brother Prince Harry) 

It ended her marriage, her royal-ness and — fatally, as it turned out in Paris — her cocoon of royal protection.

But beyond that, the interview also had an extraordinary impact on her elder son, William.

The implications of Diana’s revelations seem largely to have passed over the head of the younger Harry, who was then just 11 years old. 

But they struck young teenager William at an especially vulnerable moment.

Caring mother though she was, Diana does not seem to have considered the emotional effect of her intimate revelations on her elder son. 

Her cascade of confession and barbed insults added up to a maliciously crafted attack on both her husband and his family — her children’s father and family.

‘Because I know the character, I would think that the top job, as I call it, would bring enormous limitations to him,’ said Diana, openly dismissing the prospect of Charles becoming king.

Bashir: ‘Would it be your wish, when Prince William comes of age, that he were to succeed the Queen, rather than the current Prince of Wales?’

Princess Diana's astonishingly candid November 1995 interview with Martin Bashir on Panorama shattered her relationship with the Royal Family (pictured)

Princess Diana’s astonishingly candid November 1995 interview with Martin Bashir on Panorama shattered her relationship with the Royal Family (pictured)

Diana: ‘My wish is that my husband finds peace of mind, and from that follow other things. Yes.’

It was not until this explosive material was in the can, being edited by a secret BBC team at a hotel in Eastbourne, that Diana started to reflect on how her two boys — both away at boarding school — might feel about it.

According to Simone Simmons, the Princess’s confidante and faith-healer, it took a phone call from William’s Eton housemaster, Dr Andrew Gailey, to prompt Diana. 

Gailey had read the advance publicity in the newspapers and phoned to tell her it was ‘imperative’, in his view, that she should come to explain things to William, face to face.

‘Is that really necessary?’ she asked him.

In another phone call from Gailey the next day, Simmons told the editor-in-chief of royal magazine Majesty, Ingrid Seward, he effectively ordered Diana down the M4 motorway to talk to her son.

‘I’ve done an interview for TV,’ she told William in the housemaster’s study on Sunday, November 19. ‘It’s going to air tomorrow night and I didn’t want it to catch you by surprise.’

It was a brief conversation, according to the various accounts based on Diana’s version of the encounter. 

Afterwards she drove on to Ludgrove, Harry’s prep school half an hour away, to deliver the same message in person to her younger son. 

‘Don’t worry,’ she assured him. ‘Everything will be fine — I promise.’

William's (pictured this week) intervention this week in the BBC/Bashir scandal shows his increasingly assured profile as a future king — the action-man Prince, rather than the Prince who talks to his plants.

William’s (pictured this week) intervention this week in the BBC/Bashir scandal shows his increasingly assured profile as a future king — the action-man Prince, rather than the Prince who talks to his plants.

The 11-year-old Prince was offered the chance to watch the interview on the TV set of his personal protection officer at Ludgrove. 

He declined, and the details of how Harry later reacted to his mother’s revelations are still obscure.

But William went down to his housemaster’s study shortly before 8pm that Monday to sit alone and watch as Panorama’s revolving globe and percussive theme music made way for the close-up of his mother’s wide eyes and heavily kohled eyelids as she fired off her broadside of embarrassing accusations.

Before the 58 minutes ended, William was weeping.

Gailey told Diana that he found her son slumped on the sofa, his eyes red with tears. 

The Prince pulled himself together to rush back to his room — but when, an hour later, Diana telephoned on the house phone, William refused to take her call. 

Something inside him had snapped. ‘He hated the idea of everything being on television,’ related Simmons, ‘and he knew his friends would poke fun at him, which they did.

‘He felt she made a fool of herself — and of him.’

William was in a fragile place. He was only in his first weeks at Eton, having just endured the college’s then-notorious ‘welcome to the club’.

The ‘Colours Test’, for example, involved learning the names and colours of the school’s 24 houses and other items of Eton trivia, to be quizzed by prefects who might sit you down beside a bucket of raw eggs and Worcestershire sauce. 

This, they promised, might be poured over your head if you made any mistakes.

In 1995, £12,384 — the Eton school fees per year — could buy you some high-class bullying.

Princess Diana watches the Women's Singles final at Wimbledon with a young Prince William, who was 13 when the Panorame interview was released

Princess Diana watches the Women’s Singles final at Wimbledon with a young Prince William, who was 13 when the Panorame interview was released

The consolation that Eton offered, after years of communal prep school dormitories, was that William could retreat to his own room or ‘study’ to hide his sorrow — and also to reflect.

By the time he went home to Kensington Palace at the end of that week to see Diana, he was raging. ‘All hell broke loose,’ Diana told Simmons the following Monday. 

‘He was furious . . . that she had spoken badly of his father, furious that she had mentioned Hewitt . . . he started shouting and crying and when she tried to put her arms around him, he shoved her away.’

Diana was getting an unpleasant personal experience of William’s notorious temper.

He apologised to his mother the next day and presented her with a small bunch of flowers, but Diana sensed that some profound and irretrievable damage had been done.

‘When I saw her later,’ recalled Simmons, ‘there was a look of hopelessness on her face . . . she was still somehow convinced that he would hate her for the rest of his life.’

Hate his mother? Or love-hate her? This was the moment when William seems to have experienced that decisive act of detachment from the parent that marks the advent of adult life. The iron had entered his soul.

When the question later arose as to who William would invite to his first Fourth of June celebrations — Eton’s equivalent of Founders’ or Parents’ Day — the Prince decided he would invite neither his father nor his mother.

Instead, he took his older friend and shooting companion William van Cutsem (then 17; today the godfather to William’s firstborn, George), along with Tiggy Legge-Bourke, his nanny — who, it later emerged in various legal actions, was being openly and completely falsely accused by Diana in these years of being Charles’s mistress.

‘Camilla,’ Diana had written to her butler Paul Burrell, ‘is nothing but a decoy.’

The interview was watched by 23 million people and sent shockwaves through the Royal Family

The interview was watched by 23 million people and sent shockwaves through the Royal Family

No wonder the wounded William sought to escape from the pain of his parents’ recriminations. A plague on both your houses!

The one justification for Diana’s bizarre broadcast was that she was responding to the TV interview Charles had given to Jonathan Dimbleby the previous year, in which he acknowledged his relationship with Camilla.

It had infuriated Diana — and this year her brother, Charles Spencer, has rightly questioned the bogus bank statements that Martin Bashir unscrupulously fabricated to take advantage of that, engineering access to Spencer and then playing on his sister’s fears in order to inveigle her into hitting back through Panorama.

‘Is it true,’ William had poignantly asked Diana after Charles’s revelatory broadcast, ‘that Daddy never loved you?’

The Prince’s protocol-breaking intervention this week to express his approval of the campaign to ‘establish the truth’ — William’s own words — about Bashir’s behaviour reflects his childhood pain. 

He has been in touch with the BBC about the investigation, we now discover, for a full fortnight. ‘It is a very personal matter,’ says a source close to Wills.

His intervention is the more momentous for being the first major initiative he has ever taken about his mother without co-opting Harry.

The two sons refer to Diana quite regularly in individual speeches and interviews, but any pronouncement about her of this significance would previously have been made together.

This partly reflects the rift that currently has the two brothers living on opposite sides of the world. 

But it also reflects their different experiences of that traumatic broadcast in 1995 — and hence their views of Diana.

Harry has always been uncritically proud to tread in his mother’s footsteps. He did so quite literally in September 2019 when he walked through the Huambo minefield in Angola.

His passionate royal exit speech of this January — ‘there really was no other option’ — could have been written by Diana herself.

But William has been more ambivalent because he was older, and thus had more first-hand experience of the manipulative role that his mother came to play in Windsor politics towards the end of her life.

Part of William viewed Diana’s behaviour as the rest of the family did. Now the Bashir/BBC investigation opens up the prospect that in November 1995 William’s mother was less the manipulator than the victim who was being manipulated.

Diana, Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

Diana, Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

Might the Prince be able to blame Martin Bashir and the BBC, not Diana, for the broadcast that has burdened him with such anger, pain and loneliness?

These were the emotions that afflicted William 25 years ago as he tried to take refuge from his parents’ poisonous crossfire in the life of a schoolboy.

He was agonised by his mother’s betrayal of trust but, from the playing fields of Eton, he could look up and take comfort in the sight of his future destiny — the battlements of Windsor Castle, looming over the River Thames.

It was in these months of 1995-96 — William’s first year at Eton — that he would decisively transfer his emotional allegiance away from his warring parents and on to the more stable and reassuring occupants of Windsor, the Queen and Prince Philip, his grandparents up on the hill.

Soon after William’s arrival at Eton and amid all the turmoil surrounding the rival parental broadsides, the Queen had become concerned about her elder grandson’s state of mind.

She feared that the boy might be heading for some sort of breakdown, she confided to one of her advisers.

Sharing her concerns, the Duke of Edinburgh suggested they should take advantage of William’s closeness at his new school to invite him to join them from time to time on a Sunday, when the Eton boys were allowed out into the town.

And so the lunches began. Every few Sundays — allowing for the weekends William would spend with his separated mother or father — he would walk with his detective down Eton High Street and across the bridge up to Windsor, where he would join the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for a hearty and tasty meal.

When the pudding course had been eaten, Philip would make a discreet exit, leaving his wife and grandson together in the panelled Oak Room, with its six-arm chandelier hanging over the table in front of Queen Victoria’s Gobelins tapestry of The Hunt.

We all recall the excitement of that May 2018 Windsor marriage that created such a whirlwind of attention around Harry and Meghan (pictured during their tour Australia, 16 October, 2018)

We all recall the excitement of that May 2018 Windsor marriage that created such a whirlwind of attention around Harry and Meghan (pictured during their tour Australia, 16 October, 2018)

In this splendid and historic but also intimate setting, grandmother and grandson — monarch and future heir — forged a unique link, talking, ‘sharing’ and creating together the axis that dominates and sets the tone for the Royal Family to this day.

Diana did not come into the picture. Just as Queen Elizabeth II had bypassed the example of her own mother, the too-soft ‘Queen Mum’, to take her direction from her formidable grandmother Queen Mary, whose rigid style she has replicated throughout her reign, so William would bypass the confused role model of his father Prince Charles, to take his personal lead from the Queen’s example.

He has formatted himself in his grandmother’s image, and that has turned William into the Royal Family’s most astute tactical infighter.

Small wonder that Simon Case, his private secretary and canny consigliere at the ‘Sandringham Summit’ in January this year, has gone on to become Boris Johnson’s right-hand man as Cabinet Secretary.

Having assisted William in the January exiling of Prince Harry, Case was involved in the ousting of Dominic Cummings this month. 

William is unrelenting in his defence of the monarchy his grandmother has built.

Camilla confided to friends the shock that she felt, following her marriage to Charles in 2005, at the disdainful way in which her stepson would angrily rebuke his father if Charles’s enthusiasms led him to stray — in William’s opinion — from the traditional royal path.

When William fell in love, it seemed perfectly proper to him that ‘Waitie Katie’ should spend nine years auditioning for the job of future consort.

He was amazed that Harry did not exercise any similar caution with Meghan.

The ‘Sussex Storm’ of 2019-2020 was the issue on which the steely grandmother and grandson displayed their particular unity, both resolute that Harry and Meghan’s inventive brand name, ‘Sussex Royal’, should be granted no breathing space. 

‘Royal’ is the value by which the Queen and her grandson must, operationally, live and die — and they made that clear in the image of the ‘Four Monarchs’ that Buckingham Palace released this January to set the tone for the new decade.

Here was Elizabeth II herself, flanked by just Charles, William and little George — direct ‘heirs’ all three of them, with not a ‘spare’ in sight.

‘That’s what ‘royal’ means, Harry,’ it seemed to shout.

Shunning his mother’s breathless interview style that so embarrassed him in 1995, William has developed an artfully jaunty and jovial approach to interviews that appears both youthful and open.

But on the issues that really matter, he has proved as buttoned-down as his grandmother, imitating her technique of ignoring any inconvenient realities by sweeping them under the carpet.

In September last year, Prince Harry made a graceful acknowledgement of the brotherly rift in his momentous interview with Tom Bradby in Africa — ‘we’re certainly on different paths at the moment’. 

But he added the touching personal postscript that, ‘I will always be there for him and, as I know, he will always be there for me.’

William has made no such public statement or gesture towards his brother. He has not given a single interview, nor made the slightest on-the-record reference to their split.

Off the record, however, a ‘senior Kensington Palace source’ leaked a suggestion in October last year that Harry and Meghan were ‘in a fragile place’.

The smear has never been disavowed by William — and as Diana’s confidant, this newspaper’s Richard Kay, recently remarked, it is a tactic straight out of the War of the Waleses playbook of the 1990s, when Charles and Camilla’s aides liked to spread the idea that Diana was ‘bonkers’.

According to those close to recent events, history has still to record the sharp-elbowed role William played in the displacement of his younger brother.

The elder Prince has recently taken to lecturing us on the importance of mental health.

‘I’ve always believed,’ he told Alastair Campbell, ‘in being very open and honest’ about mental conflicts and difficulties.

But William has not spoken a word to the world about the main conflict in his life — the split from Harry — ignoring this painful issue in the same remote style as his grandmother. His hope, presumably, is that it will go away with time.

But time does not seem to be healing the fraternal rift. Quite the contrary, with Harry and Meghan setting up their Archewell foundation in California, while William and Kate expand happily into the British public space that the Sussexes have vacated.

The Cambridges have even hired ‘Digital Dave’ Watkins, the whiz behind the now-defunct ‘Sussex Royal’ website, to help grow their own web presence to some 12 million followers.

We all recall the excitement of that May 2018 Windsor marriage that created such a whirlwind of attention around Harry and Meghan.

For 18 months, the new royal rock stars put William and Kate in the shade, quite overturning the proper order of things in the eyes of royal traditionalists.

But with Harry and Meghan in exile, the balance has been restored. Glowing and smiling with their three irresistible children, William and Kate are once again the undisputed focus of the future of the monarchy.

William has only to sit in a chair and watch television with Sir David Attenborough — himself a semi-royal figure — to generate front-page coverage.

The latest British opinion polls show clearly that the Cambridges are seen as the figures of the future, with Harry and Meghan cast as the scapegoats for whatever has gone wrong.

The glittering appeal of the Cambridges also eclipses the probability of a future King Charles III and Queen Camilla, a prospect that no one who recalls the troubled 1980s and 1990s can view with much pleasure.

Was not this obstinate love affair the source of the marital discord that led to the distress and pain of the current generation?

It is one thing to let the chickens come home to roost.

It is quite another to set them on thrones and crown them as a reward for the sorrow and confusion they have prompted.

So this question looms for the sad moment when Elizabeth II is no longer with us — how will Britain feel about all the fol-de-rol and expense of crowning the elderly Charles and Camilla for what can only possibly be a brief reign?

Meanwhile, William’s intervention this week in the BBC/Bashir scandal shows his increasingly assured profile as a future king — the action-man Prince, rather than the Prince who talks to his plants.

As the Queen and Prince Philip celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary this week, the card they studied came from just three of their nine great-grandchildren — the children of William and Kate.

In ways great and small, deliberately or otherwise, the baton is being passed.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — not the Prince of Wales and his second wife — are clearly the future focus of Britain’s royal affections.

And as this becomes more obvious, the hope that Diana dared to voice in her momentous 1995 interview grows ever closer to being realised.

The Princess’s dream could still come to pass, with William, not his father, securing ‘the top job, as I call it’ in direct succession to the grandmother who brought him such solace and guidance at a painful stage in his life, and in whose footsteps William is clearly determined to walk in the future. 

  •  Robert Lacey’s Battle Of Brothers: William, Harry And The Inside Story Of A Family In Tumult, is published by William Collins at £20. To order a copy for £14 (offer valid to 30/11/20), go to www.mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free UK delivery on orders over £15.

Prince William was in contact with BBC for TWO WEEKS to make sure they ‘establish the truth’ with probe into Panorama interview with his mother as reporter Martin Bashir – the man who is ‘too ill’ to help inquiry – breaks cover 

By Faith Ridler and Martin Robinson Chief Reporter For Mailonline and Sam Greenhill and Paul Revoir For The Daily Mail 

Prince William has spent the past fortnight in contact with the BBC to ensure they hired a top judge who will ‘establish the truth’ about Martin Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana, it was revealed this week.

The Duke of Cambridge called Lord Dyson’s appointment ‘a step in the right direction’ after the former Supreme Court judge was unveiled as the eminent head of a probe into allegations of forgery, deceit and cover-up surrounding Mr Bashir’s scoop.

Mr Bashir, who is signed off work with illness but was pictured this week charging his electric Mercedes SUV, allegedly peddled 32 lies and vile smears to the vulnerable princess to clinch his explosive 1995 Panorama exclusive in which she famously said: ‘There were three of us in this marriage’ when asked about Camilla Parker-Bowles.

MailOnline understands William, who was 13 when the interview took place, has maintained channels of communication with the BBC over the past fortnight. This has kept pressure on the broadcaster to ensure it found an authoritative enough figure to probe his concerns about how his mother was treated.

A source close to the Duke of Cambridge added: ‘Well of course this is in part about protecting his mother’s legacy, so it is a very personal matter for William. He has kept a close eye on what’s unfolded but believes things are moving in the right direction.

‘The BBC has kept him informed appropriately. In the end, what he wants is the same as everyone else – for the truth to be unearthed and any appropriate action taken.’ 

Prince William said earlier this week: ‘The independent investigation is a step in the right direction. It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time.’

The Duke of Cambridge (pictured this week) dubbed the independent investigation into whether Martin Bashir conned his mother into their notorious 1995 Panorama interview 'a step in the right direction'

The Duke of Cambridge (pictured this week) dubbed the independent investigation into whether Martin Bashir conned his mother into their notorious 1995 Panorama interview ‘a step in the right direction’

Princess Diana watches the Women's Singles final at Wimbledon with a young Prince William, who was 13 when the Panorame interview was released

Princess Diana watches the Women’s Singles final at Wimbledon with a young Prince William, who was 13 when the Panorame interview was released

The interview, in which Diana also admitted her infidelity with army captain James Hewitt, was watched by 23 million people and sent shockwaves through the Royal Family. 

It led to the Queen demanding that Charles and Diana swiftly divorce in 1996, a year before the princess died following a car crash in a road tunnel in Paris in August 1997.   

Lord Dyson, 77, who stood as Master of the Rolls between 2012 and 2016, has said he will start his inquiry ‘straight away’ by interviewing corporation staff and having access to available records.

He also promised Mr Bashir a ‘thorough and fair’ investigation following sensational claims the journalist secured the Princess of Wales’s trust by faking two bank statements.  

The BBC approved Lord Dyson’s appointment on Wednesday after new Director General Tim Davie ordered an independent inquiry into allegations Mr Bashir fed Diana a string of lies and smears to obtain his exclusive interview with her. 

Lord Dyson will also probe how much BBC bosses knew at the time and whether there was a cover-up and said: ‘This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair’. 

Diana’s brother Earl Spencer – who has been demanding an inquiry into the ‘sheer dishonesty’ – has told friends he was pleased such a senior retired judge had been appointed.    

Mr Davie added: ‘The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation. 

‘Formerly Master of the Rolls and a Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Dyson is an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process.’ 

Bashir, who is now religion editor at the BBC, is currently signed off from work.  

A statement from the corporation said: ‘He is currently recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery and has significant complications from having contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year.’

Diana, Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

Diana, Princess of Wales, during her world exclusive Panorama interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC on November 20, 1995

Retired judge Lord Dyson (left) will run the independent inquiry into whether Martin Bashir used dirty tricks to con Princess Diana into the 1995 Panorama interview

Retired judge Lord Dyson (left) will run the independent inquiry into whether Martin Bashir used dirty tricks to con Princess Diana into the 1995 Panorama interview

Retired judge Lord Dyson (left) will run the independent inquiry into whether Mr Bashir used dirty tricks to con Princess Diana into the 1995 Panorama interview. Mr Bashir won a Bafta for the show (right)

BBC children’s show Celebrity Supply Teacher where scandal-hit Martin Bashir teaches children how to be journalists will remain available on iPlayer, corporation says 

BBC chiefs say a children's show where scandal-hit reporter Martin Bashir (pictured during the show) teaches children about the fundamentals of journalism will remain on iPlayer

BBC chiefs say a children’s show where scandal-hit reporter Martin Bashir (pictured during the show) teaches children about the fundamentals of journalism will remain on iPlayer

BBC chiefs say a children’s show where scandal-hit reporter Martin Bashir teaches children about the fundamentals of journalism will remain on iPlayer.

The corporation says it will not remove an episode of Celebrity Supply Teacher featuring the correspondent, who is at the centre of a probe relating to his bombshell 1995 interview with Princess Diana.   

The Celebrity Supply Teacher episode, which features a still image from the famous Panorama interview, centres on the journalist discussing the historical influence of civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King

He also also gives advice to young viewers about being a journalist, saying: ‘Journalism is about telling stories, real stories so that people can understand the world around them.’ 

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Veteran BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell is among the journalists expected to appear before the inquiry having been ‘deeply disturbed’ by their colleague’s alleged dirty tactics.

Mr Witchell, 67, who worked on Panorama in the 1990s, and several other senior BBC staff are said to have been ‘deeply disturbed’ by claims Mr Bashir allegedly spun an outlandish web of deceit to win Diana’s trust – and secure the bombshell interview. 

The BBC’s current royal correspondent had reportedly arranged to meet Diana to discuss a TV interview about the changing role of the monarchy and how her children William and Harry would fit in.

The plan was ‘put on ice’ when Mr Witchell was sent away on assignment and promoted diplomatic correspondent – but it was handed to Mr Bashir who is alleged to have used unscrupulous tactics to secure the interview.

To secure his interview, Mr Bashir  allegedly said her bodyguard was plotting against her, her friends were betraying her and MI6 had taped Charles and his private secretary planning the ‘end game’. 

He is said to have falsely claimed Charles and nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke went on a secret holiday together and that the heir to the throne was ‘in love’ with her. 

Mr Bashir allegedly lied that Prince Edward was having treatment for Aids and the Queen was a ‘comfort eater’ with ‘heart problems’.  

Earl Spencer kept meticulous notes which are expected to form key evidence in the inquiry. 

At an earlier meeting, Mr Bashir showed him fake bank statements he ordered a blameless BBC graphics artist to forge, purporting to show Earl Spencer’s security head was in the pocket of a newspaper group.  

Mr Witchell is said to have been ‘furious’ when Mr Bashir’s alleged deceit emerged, and is now set to give evidence to the inquiry into it, according to the Daily Telegraph.     

Michael Jackson was lured into his disastrous interview with Mr Bashir because he thought ‘if Princess Diana trusted him, [he] could too’, it was claimed on Tuesday.

The journalist was seen returning home this month carrying an Indian takeaway and wine. Mr Bashir, 57, the BBC's religious affairs editor, has not responded to requests for comment.

The journalist was seen returning home this month carrying an Indian takeaway and wine. Mr Bashir, 57, the BBC’s religious affairs editor, has not responded to requests for comment.

In February 1996 Bashir was feted at the Royal Television Society's annual journalism awards ceremony for the interview that made headlines around the world

In February 1996 Bashir was feted at the Royal Television Society’s annual journalism awards ceremony for the interview that made headlines around the world

Top British retired judge chosen to lead BBC’s Bashir inquiry once called Boris Johnson a risk-taker who ‘chances his arm’ in love child case

Lord Dyson was Master of the Rolls – the name Britain’s top Court of Appeal judge – for four years until he retired in October 2016. 

Famously in 2013 he ruled that the public had the right to know about the Prime Minister’s love child has now described him as a risk taker who ‘chances his arm’.

Lord Dyson was one of three judges who decided that the press had the right to reveal that Boris Johnson had fathered a daughter outside of his marriage.

The judges rejected an argument from Helen Macintyre, Mr Johnson’s former lover and the mother of the child, that the girl’s existence should be kept secret.

He was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from April 2010 until October 2012. 

And before that he was a Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales from 2001 until 2010 after stints at the High Court.

Lord Dyson was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1968.

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The pop star’s lawyer said Jackson would never have done the documentary with Bashir unless he believed it would be ‘positive’.

The 2003 expose turned into a public relations disaster for the troubled singer and culminated in him facing child molestation charges in 2005.

Tom Mesereau, who successfully defended the musician at the trial, claimed Jackson – who died in 2009 – had told him the journalist promised to portray him positively like the famous Diana interview. 

From his office in Los Angeles, Mr Mesereau told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘I have always been troubled by how Mr Bashir managed to get into Michael Jackson’s graces and gain his trust. 

‘He thought if Princess Diana trusted him, Michael could too. Michael told me he was led to believe this would be a very positive interview, and he trusted Mr Bashir to follow through [with this] but he was greatly disappointed.’

The British journalist spent eight months with the Thriller star before making the ITV documentary ‘Living with Michael Jackson,’ in which the entertainer admitted sharing his bed with children.

Bashir and former BBC chiefs are now facing an inquiry into a string of alleged lies and smears he reportedly fed Diana to obtain his 1995 exclusive interview with her.

Former director-general Lord Hall welcomed his successor Tim Davie’s decision to commission the ‘robust and independent’ investigation.

Lord Hall was head of news when Diana gave her interview, and he presided over an inquiry at the time that was dubbed a ‘whitewash’.

But he told the Sunday Times he was ‘pleased’ allegations Mr Bashir used dishonest methods would be investigated, adding: ‘I want these things to be looked at.’ There is also a growing clamour for a police investigation, after the BBC acknowledged Bashir had shown ‘mocked up’ bank statements to Earl Spencer when trying to persuade him to introduce him to his sister Diana. 

Matt Wiessler, who was sacked from the BBC after details of his role in making the bank statements emerged. Mr Bashir is the BBC's religious affairs editor

Matt Wiessler, who was sacked from the BBC after details of his role in making the bank statements emerged. Mr Bashir is the BBC’s religious affairs editor

Bashir clinched his access to the princess via her brother, Earl Spencer, who says the journalist showed him copies of bank statements (pictured) which purported to be from the private account of his head of security, Alan Waller. They apparently showed – falsely – that he was receiving money from a newspaper group and a mysterious offshore company

Bashir clinched his access to the princess via her brother, Earl Spencer, who says the journalist showed him copies of bank statements (pictured) which purported to be from the private account of his head of security, Alan Waller. They apparently showed – falsely – that he was receiving money from a newspaper group and a mysterious offshore company

Former police officers including Dai Davies, ex head of royal protection, say Scotland Yard should run the new probe. And Peter Bleksley, a founder member of Scotland Yard’s undercover unit, backed the idea, saying: ‘They have to establish criminal intent. Was there an intention to trick someone or persuade someone to do something because of these documents?

‘Earl Spencer is absolutely crucial to any criminal inquiry because he may be the person who was coerced into doing something. There would have to be some kind of financial advantage proven.’

The innocent graphics designer who unwittingly helped Mr Bashir create the phoney bank statements – and was fired while Mr Bashir collected awards – believes the BBC journalist’s historic interview helped set her on a fateful path culminating in her death.

At her funeral, Matt Wiessler stood in The Mall. He said: ‘I felt like I needed to pay my respects because somehow I contributed.’

BBC veteran Jonathan Dimbleby, one of the targets of Bashir’s smears, welcomed the inquiry, describing the Panorama affair as ‘the bizarre and awful story of Martin Bashir’s insinuating himself into the confidence of a troubled woman’. He said getting an interview ‘should never involve deception and lies’.

Mr Bashir, 57, the BBC’s religious affairs editor, has not responded to requests for comment.

A BBC source told the Mail: ‘At no stage has anyone at the BBC admitted forgery or any other criminality.’  

Panorama’s star reporter Tom Mangold is astonished that inquiry into Martin Bashir won’t investigate a ‘cover-up’ at BBC after the Diana interview 

By Daily Mail Reporter 

A distinguished veteran BBC reporter has expressed his astonishment that the inquiry into Martin Bashir will not investigate a ‘cover-up’ at the Corporation after the 1995 interview with Princess Diana.

Tom Mangold – who was a leading light of Panorama at the time of the world scoop – has also challenged the probe led by former Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson to answer five crucial questions.

Last night he told the Mail: ‘I am somewhat baffled by the complete absence of any reference in Lord Dyson’s brief to investigating the events within the BBC after the story of the forgeries broke.’

Mr Mangold, who was a reporter on Panorama for 26 years, has previously spoken about his conviction that executives on the programme ‘conspired, lied, deceived and cheated’ to hush up the scandal, adding: ‘The true story is much bigger than Bashir.’

The BBC has been forced to launch an investigation into claims that Martin Bashir told a string of lies to secure his bombshell Panorama interview with the princess Diana in 1995 (pictured)

The BBC has been forced to launch an investigation into claims that Martin Bashir told a string of lies to secure his bombshell Panorama interview with the princess Diana in 1995 (pictured) 

Last night he said: ‘I know there was a cover-up to blame ‘jealous colleagues, trouble makers and leakers’ on Panorama – people who simply didn’t exist. I know. I was there.’

Martin Bashir

Martin Bashir

He also outlined the points he believes Lord Dyson must address in investigating the use of faked bank statements and other ruses which led to Diana agreeing to the world exclusive interview.

He suggested the questions should be: ‘1. What steps did the BBC and, in particular, Martin Bashir take with a view to obtaining the Panorama interview in 1995?

‘2. Were those steps appropriate, particularly in regard to the BBC’s editorial standards at the time?

‘3. To what extent did the actions of the BBC and, in particular, Martin Bashir influence Diana’s decision to give an interview?

‘4. What knowledge did the BBC have in 1995 and 1996 of the relevant evidence, such as the forged bank statements?

‘5. How effectively did the BBC investigate the circumstances leading to the interview?’

Mr Mangold, 86, specialised in investigative stories and worked on more than 100 Panorama documentaries.

He won the Royal Television Society’s current affairs prize. 

DailyMail Online


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