Charles Spencer: I was groomed and duped by Martin Bashir for Panorama interview

entertainment
Charles Spencer: I Was Groomed And Duped By Martin Bashir For Panorama Interview Charles Spencer: I Was Groomed And Duped By Martin Bashir For Panorama Interview
Earl Charles Spencer, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Charles Spencer has said he was “duped” and “groomed” by journalist Martin Bashir in a bid to land an interview with his sister, Britain's Princess Diana.

In a written statement to John Dyson’s inquiry into the circumstances surrounding her explosive Panorama interview in 1995, the British earl said he did not have proof he had been deceived until last year.

He said: “I had come to accept that Bashir had shown me fake bank accounts to groom me, so that he could then get to Diana for the interview he was always secretly after.

“However, I had no proof that this was the case.

“It was not until last October 2020 that I received that proof, in the form of the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) papers released by the BBC that month, which finally conceded the fact that Bashir had commissioned forgery as part of his plan to dupe me, en route for Diana.”

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A fake bank statement submitted in evidence (BBC/PA)

Bashir commissioned documents purporting to show payments into the bank account of Alan Waller, a former employee of Mr Spencer, Commander Patrick Jephson, Diana’s private secretary, and Commander Richard Aylard, private secretary to the Prince of Wales, according to Mr Dyson.

The documents falsely suggested the royal aides were being paid for keeping the princess under surveillance.

Following the publication of the report, Cmdr Jephson said in a statement: “After so many years it is a relief to know more of the truth behind events which had so many unhappy and even tragic consequences.

“I am grateful to Lord Spencer, Lord Dyson and the tenacious journalists who brought the story to light. I also acknowledge the BBC’s full apology which I received from the (BBC) director general this afternoon.”

Diana and her private secretary, Patrick Jephson (Tim Ockenden/PA)

The corporation has written to a number of people, including the royal family and Mr Spencer, to apologise over the circumstances surrounding the interview.

A statement said: “We recognise that it has taken far too long to get to the truth.”

The corporation has also returned the awards the interview received, including a Bafta.

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