Earl Spencer, Princess Diana's brother, believed that BBC reporter Martin Bashir bugged her flat to prey on her fears that security services were recording her conversations, reports The Times.
Bashir rose to fame for the controversial interview with the Princess of Wales in 1995. A recent report found that he secured the "scoop" using deceitful methods.
Spencer's revelation is contained in notes, cited by the outlet, made by author Sally Bedell Smith as she interviewed him for her book “Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess,” which was published in 1999.
Princess Diana, who was married to Prince Charles, was concerned about her privacy throughout the mid-1990s, believing her telephones had been bugged as part of a spying campaign against her. She even requested her residence was searched for bugs.
Bedell Smith's notes indicate that Earl Spencer was told by members of the late Princess’ staff that Bashir gained access to her apartment with his "anti-bugging team."
“I even heard from members of her staff that he would go in with his anti-bugging team and go into a radio and produce a bug,” Earl Spencer allegedly stated.
Furthermore, Bashir reportedly made Princess Diana “so paranoid” that he “destroyed several of her friendships.” Earl Spencer also ostensibly believed his sister agreed to the BBC interview after Bashir "very cleverly" fed her insecurities to gain "coercive control" over her.
Earlier, a report by the Daily Mail claimed that Princess Diana summoned experts to check her residence for bugs, with palace carpets and floorboards lifted.
BBC Under Fire
The British Broadcasting Corporation is facing an explosive fallout from the scandal surrounding Diana’s 1995 Panorama interview with Bashir.
On Friday, Earl Spencer demanded that Scotland Yard investigate the BBC over the scoop, writing to Met Commissioner Cressida Dick to allege that his sister might have been subjected to blackmail and fraud.
In response, the Metropolitan Police vowed to “assess” any new evidence into the earlier report assembled by former senior judge Lord Dyson into how the interview was landed. Lord Dyson's report did not mention Bedell Smith's notes, cited by The Times.
A statement on today’s report of The Dyson Investigation pic.twitter.com/uS62CNwiI8— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 20, 2021
A probe into the interview earlier revealed that journalist Martin Bashir acted inappropriately and violated the outlet’s guidelines.
The BBC "fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark," stated the report.
It added that Bashir acted in a "deceitful" way to fake documents to obtain the interview.
Both the BBC and Martin Bashir have since apologised, with the BBC writing to Princes William and Harry – Princess Diana’s sons.
Furthermore, the public broadcaster has sent apologies to Prince Charles and Princess Diana's brother Earl Spencer, and announced it is returning all awards the interview received.
Journalist Bashir presented fake bank statements to Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer.
Despite the report stating that the Princess of Wales was generally in favour of doing an interview with the BBC, the broadcaster’s director emphasised "the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect."
In the bombshell interview, Princess Diana spoke candidly about palace life, her struggle in the media spotlight, her experience of self-harm, and touched upon the issue of Charles' infidelity.
The Princess of Wales said "there were three of us in this marriage," hinting at Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
Furthermore, Diana revealed she herself had an extramarital affair with cavalry officer James Lifford Hewitt.
She added that the royal household had regarded her as a "threat of some kind," while her postnatal depression led her to be labelled mentally unbalanced.
The current investigation into the interview was launched last year after Earl Charles Spencer accused Bashir of providing fake bank statements showing that two royal courtiers had been paid by security services to spy on his sister.
A previous investigation launched by the BBC itself in 1996 exonerated the journalist.