Former Panorama interviewer Martin Bashir has riled Sally Bedell Smith, the royal biographer who famously published a best-selling book about the Princess of Wales, following claims about Princess Diana.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Friday that Bashir told Lord Dyson, the former Supreme Court judge leading the probe into the explosive 1995 Panorama interview, that Diana told him “smears” about the royal family when she, her brother Earl Spencer, and the journalist met in September 1995 before the programme aired.
Earl Spencer, who took notes during the meeting, insists that it was Bashir who lured Diana into the scandalous programme by taking advantage of her paranoia.
The journalist allegedly told the Princess of Wales that she was being spied on, her phone wiretapped, and car followed. Diana’s brother also insists that Bashir suggested that the Queen had heart problems and was planning to abdicate, her youngest son Prince Edward had AIDS, and that Prince Charles was having an affair with their nanny.
The earl’s notes are now a part of the independent probe launched by the BBC in December to establish the circumstances around the interview that was watched by almost 23 million people across Britain, as they learned from Diana that Charles was actually cheating on her with Camilla Parker Bowles.
But Bashir reportedly suggests that it was Diana, not him, who came up with the “smears” after talking to clairvoyants.
Bedell Smith is appalled by the claims.
“What Mr Bashir has said is brazen and I find it appalling that after all these years he would contradict something that Charles Spencer wrote at some length at the time and that accurately depicted what went on,” the biographer raged to the Daily Mail.
“This is a real calumny against Diana that she is not around to defend herself,” the 72-year-old writer said.
Bashir, now religious affairs editor for the BBC, has never publicly commented on the ongoing probe or allegations made against him. Despite once admitting that he had forged bank statements back in 1995 to secure a meeting with Earl Spencer and get introduced to Lady Diana, he said the fake documents were never shown to the princess and that taking part in the interview was her own decision.
Bashir remains on sick leave after a COVID diagnosis and heart surgery and according to the BBC, he “won’t be making any public statements while the investigation is ongoing.”