BBC in talks to pay $2.9 million ‘guilt money’ to a charity chosen by the royal family
To amend the Martin Bashir scandal, the BBC is in talks with the royal family to pay £1.5 million ($2.9 million) “guilt money” to their chosen charity.
The Mail on Sunday has revealed the donation will include £1.15m ($2.2m), which is what the broadcasting company made from selling the global rights to Bashir’s groundbreaking Princess Diana interview, and reparations.
A recent inquiry from Lord Dyson found the BBC “did not scrutinise” Bashir despite knowing he lied three times.
Former BBC director-general Lord Hall investigated Bashir in 1996 after questions were first raised over how he secured the bombshell interview with Diana.
Hall said he accepts an original inquiry into the interview “fell well short of what was required” and he was “wrong to give Martin Bashir the benefit of the doubt”.
It’s was alleged that Bashir issued 32 lies and smears to the princess to clinch his Panorama chat in 1995, in which Diana famously said: “There were three of us in this marriage”.
Bashir quit the BBC on health grounds this year, where he held the position of the broadcaster’s religion editor.
The reparations arrangement is yet to be confirmed but the Daily Mail understands the payment will come from the BBC Studios, a commercial operation not funded by the licence fee.
It’s believed the charity donation was the idea of Diana’s brother Earl Spencer, and it’s thought Palace officials are yet to be informed about the details.
The decision to donate the money comes against a background of ongoing discussions, initiated by William. But BBC director-general Tim Davie is now likely to view the reparations as a way of drawing a line under the affair.
Harry and William have welcomed the inquiry.
In a video released on social media, the Duke of Cambridge blamed failures over the BBC interview with his mother Diana for worsening the relationship between his parents.
“She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions,” he said.
“It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”
“But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived.”
Prince Harry also criticised the BBC, calling his mother “an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service”.
Prince William, Prince Harry, the Prince of Wales and Diana’s brother Earl Spencer received written apologies from the BBC
The Daily Mail’s request to the BBC and the Palace were declined.
-Additional reporting by AP
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