A new documentary about Princess Diana will air snippets of her 1995 Panorama interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir once again, despite Prince William insisting it “should never be shown again”.
The HBO documentary, titled The Princess, uses archival audio and video footage as part of its exploration of Diana’s complex relationship with the media, including how she often used the press to her advantage with dire consequences.
Its release in select Australian and New Zealand cinemas in August comes a year after William made a forceful statement condemning the 1995 interview and describing it as a “major contribution to making my parent’s relationship worse”.
Snippets from the interview show the late Princess of Wales speaking about her marriage to Prince Charles, her extramarital affair, and her belief that a campaign was being “waged against” her for her refusal to “go quietly”.
“It is my firm view that this Panorama program holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again,” William said in May 2021.
“It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised by the BBC and others.”
Prince Harry later echoed William’s statements, saying that “our mother lost her life because of this and nothing has changed”.
The BBC has distanced itself from the documentary, saying licences allowing for “any or all” of the interview to be aired had not been granted, per The Telegraph UK.
It has since emerged that Bahir lied to Diana to gain her trust prior to the interview, showing her forged bank statements and other documents as proof that her most-trusted advisors and staff were spying on her in order to get her to agree to the interview.
Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, vowed last week to never show the interview in its entirety or in parts ever again, saying there would only be “few and far between” reasons to use extracts for journalistic purposes and urging other broadcasters to “exercise similar restraint”.
He also apologised to Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry for “the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives”.
The Princess isn’t expected to provide context for the BBC interview, as segments from it will be shown alongside other news bulletins and footage of some members of the public – out of an estimated 23 million people who watched it at the time – watching it in a pub and reacting to it.
In a statement, HBO described the film as “intensely emotional” and a “visceral submersion” into Diana’s life under the spotlight of the media.
“The film unfolds as if it were in the present, allowing viewers to experience the overwhelming adoration, but also intense scrutiny of Diana’s every move and the constant judgement of her character,” the statement reads.
“Through archival material, the film is also a reflection of society at the time, revealing the public’s own preoccupations, fears, aspirations and desires.”
Image: Getty Images
This article first appeared on OverSixty.