• BBC director general Tim Davie issued an apology, saying they let down the royal family, Princess Diana and audiences
  • He said the network will never again broadcast Princess Diana's controversial 1995 "Panorama" interview
  • The apology came after an investigation looked into the tactics used by journalist Martin Bashir to secure the interview with Diana

BBC issued a formal apology to Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry over Princess Diana's infamous interview with journalist Martin Bashir nearly three decades ago.

BBC director general Tim Davie released the statement via the network's website Thursday, more than a year after an independent investigation looked into the tactics used by Bashir to secure Princess Diana's 1995 "Panorama" interview.

"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. Instead, as The Duke of Cambridge himself put it, the BBC failed to ask the tough questions. Had we done our job properly Princess Diana would have known the truth during her lifetime. We let her, The Royal Family and our audiences down," read the statement from Davie. "Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained I have decided that the BBC will never show the program again; nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters."

The apology was issued shortly after Tiggy Legge-Bourke, who was Prince William and Prince Harry's nanny throughout their childhood, won a defamation case against the network in the London High Court Thursday.

The 57-year-old former royal caretaker sued the BBC over claims in the 1995 interview that she had an affair with Prince Charles and received a "substantial" sum from the network.

"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," Davie continued.

The interview with Princess Diana will "remain part of the historical record and there may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts for journalistic purposes," the BBC chief added. "But these will be few and far between and will need to be agreed at Executive Committee level and set in the full context of what we now know about the way the interview was obtained. I would urge others to exercise similar restraint."

In her 1995 interview, Princess Diana opened up about her battle with bulimia and shared details about her tense marriage to Prince Charles. The former couple separated in 1992 and finalized their divorce in 1996, one year before the Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in Paris.

In November 2020, BBC announced that it asked former British Supreme Court Judge John Dyson, Lord Dyson to begin an independent investigation into the 1995 interview.

The inquiry later found that Bashir acted in a "deceitful" way and fabricated documents, including bank statements, to obtain the interview with Princess Diana. Bashir showed the fake records to Earl Spencer, Princess Diana's brother, so that he would introduce the journalist to her and persuade her to agree to give the interview.

The BBC "fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark," the inquiry found.

Both Prince Harry and Prince William received letters of apology from the BBC over Bashir's conduct and subsequent cover-up 25 years later.

In response to the investigation's findings, the Duke of Sussex said in a statement that he felt his mother was exploited.

The Duke of Cambridge issued his own statement, saying he felt that Princess Diana was failed by "a rogue reporter" and the leaders at BBC and asked for the interview to never be aired again.

"It is my firm view that this Panorama program holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again. It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialized by the BBC and others," the future king said.

Prince Charles Prince William and Prince Harry
Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry visit the tunnel and trenches at Vimy Memorial Park during the commemorations for the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 2017 in Vimy, France. Getty Images/Tim Rooke