Martin Bashir has issued an apology to Princes William and Harry but said he “loved” their mother and insisted that his notorious TV interview with her was not damaging.
Bashir’s comments, made to the Sunday Times, came after William and Harry slammed him and the BBC after a report about the infamous 1995 sit-down came out last week, the Sun reported Saturday.
“I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don’t believe we did,” Bashir told the Times.
“Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents … My family and I loved her.”
Bashir denied, however, that he tricked Diana into doing the interview by misleading her.
“Even in the early 1990s, there were stories and secretly recorded phone calls. I wasn’t the source of any of that,” he said.
An official report by Lord Dyson released Thursday lambasted Bashir, whom Dyson said duped Diana into giving the interview by using fake documents, including mocked-up bank statements that purported to show palace staff being paid for stories about her.
The report also decried BBC bosses, including former BBC chief Lord Hall, for attempting to cover it up.
The princes said last week that the Bashir interview fueled her “fear, paranoia and isolation,” and led to her death.
William insisted the “Panorama” special should never be aired again, adding: “The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”
Harry added: “Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest. The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.”
Bashir said that he should not be blamed for Diana’s death, hitting back directly at her brother, Earl Spencer. who accused him of that.
“I don’t feel I can be held responsible for many of the other things that were going on in her life, and the complex issues surrounding those decisions,” Bashir said.
“I can understand the motivation [of Earl Spencer’s comments] but to channel the tragedy, the difficult relationship between the royal family and the media purely on to my shoulders feels a little unreasonable … The suggestion I am singularly responsible I think is unreasonable and unfair.”