Princess Diana’s ex Hasnat Khan slams BBC’s Martin Bashir for ‘exploitive’ 1995 TV interview
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In November, BBC journalist Martin Bashir was accused by Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, of allegedly using forged statements and false claims to convince the royal into doing a televised interview in 1995. According to Reuters, the sit-down was watched by 20 million people in Britain.
In the infamous interview, the Princess of Wales said "there were three of us in this marriage," referring to Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, whom he married after Diana's death. Diana, who divorced Charles in 1996, died in a Paris car crash in 1997 as she was being pursued by paparazzi. She was 36.
"One of her most attractive qualities was her vulnerability," Khan, 62, recently told the U.K.’s DailyMail. "It was what endeared her to the public. I later realized that Martin picked on those vulnerabilities and exploited them."
In this file photo dated Nov. 7, 1985, Britain's Princess Diana wears the Spencer tiara as she and Prince Charles attend state dinner at Government House in Adelaide, Australia. The BBC’s board of directors has announced on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, the appointment of a retired senior judge to lead an independent investigation into the circumstances around a controversial 1995 TV interview with Princess Diana. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier)
"He was very persuasive with Diana," Khan claimed. "It was all about him being from the BBC, being respectable and very pious even. But he filled her head with rubbish."
Khan alleged that after talking with Bashir, 57, Diana began to believe that Charles, now 72, was having an affair with their children’s nanny, Tiggy Legge-Bourke, which made her paranoid "with talks of bugs and phone-tapping."
Khan, who met Bashir in a pub with Diana, allegedly told the princess to be "careful."
"Almost from the word go, he started asking me the most direct personal questions about Diana and our relationship," Khan told the outlet. "Why didn’t we get married? When were we going to get married? That kind of thing. There was something about Bashir I didn’t like. I told her to be careful of him."
Pakistani surgeon Hasnat Khan is fiercely private and rarely speaks out about his relationship with Princess Diana. (Photo by Stan Karczmarz/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
"Of course I am not naïve," he shared. "I knew that there was a part of Diana that wanted to get an interview but my question is if Martin Bashir had not been there persuading her, would she ever had done it?"
Khan, a heart surgeon, has rarely spoken publicly about his relationship with Diana. Their romance came to an end after Khan realized he was unable to cope with the intense media scrutiny that came to being involved with the world’s most photographed woman, Reuters reported.
The relationship between Diana and Khan was chronicled in the 2013 film "Diana" with Naomi Watts playing the title role. At the time, Khan accused the film of being "based on gossip" in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.
Martin Bashir interviewing Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program Panorama, circa 1995. (Photo by © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
In November 2020, Diana’s eldest son Prince William spoke out following reports that the BBC is opening an investigation into the circumstances around the TV interview.
"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," shared the 38-year-old.
According to the outlet, William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, is also aware of the ongoing controversy surrounding the 25-year-old special. However, his spokesperson had no comment.
Martin Bashir received a BAFTA Award for his Panorama interview with Princess Diana. (Photo by Fiona Hanson - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
It was also revealed that the BBC is moving forward with the appointment of a former senior judge, John Dyson, to lead an independent investigation.
The investigation will take a look to see if the steps taken by both the BBC and Bashir were appropriate, and to what extent those actions influenced Diana’s decision to give the interview at the time.
The BBC described Dyson, a former Supreme Court judge, as "an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process."
Spencer, 56, who is seeking an inquiry and an apology, is alleging that in the time leading up to the 1995 interview, Bashir made false and defamatory allegations about senior royals to gain Spencer's trust in addition to access to Diana.
Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, is seeking an inquiry and an apology. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Charles Sabine)
The allegations include: Diana’s phone was being bugged, her bodyguard was plotting against her and two senior royal aides were being paid to keep Diana under surveillance. Spencer alleged that Bashir showed him "false bank statements" to back up his allegations.
When the complaints first came about, the BBC did an internal investigation and alleged that Bashir admitted to commissioning mocked-up documents, however, the broadcaster has said that the docs played no part in Diana's decision to do the interview.
The BBC's director-general, Tim Davie, said the broadcaster "is determined to get to the truth about these events."
According to Reuters, Bashir has not publicly commented to the press and the BBC said he is on sick leave from his position as religion editor.
Fox News’ Mariah Haas and the Associated Press contributed to this report.