So, how did the royals actually react to Princess Diana’s wild Panorama interview?
She spilled the monarchy’s secrets in front of 23 million people lol
Episode eight of The Crown season five is (if you’re anything like me) probably the one you wanted to skip straight to. The entire series felt like something big was bubbling under the surface, ready to, in the words of yassified John Major, “erupt.” Obviously, this *thing* was the one-and-only Panorama interview.
Princess Diana had something to say and, even though she couldn’t publicly acknowledge the Andrew Morton book at the time, she needed to get it off her chest. From her affair with James Hewitt to her struggles with eating disorders and beyond, her tell-all interview made royal history.
The Palace largely kept quiet about their real-time reactions to the interview, and a lot of what we saw in the episode appears to be fictional. We’ll never know if King Charles actually screamed and sobbed at his TV, sadly. But, thanks to the 2020 Martin Bashir inquiry, we know a lot more than we did.
So – here are all the royal reactions to that Princess Diana Panorama interview:
Prince William was reportedly ‘sad’ while watching it at Eton
25 years before giving his statement about the Bashir inquiry, sources say Prince William was upset at his mum’s decision to do the BBC interview. Author Tina Brown alleges that Princess Diana travelled to Eton College the day before the airing, before letting him know about the content of the interview.
“After a few moments, [William] walked away from Diana making no attempt to kiss her or say goodbye,” she wrote. “I watched in amazement as she got into the car and drove off, leaving a sad William watching from the doorway.”
In 2021, once Panorama had been found guilty of deceit, the Prince released the following statement: “It is welcome that the BBC accepts Lord Dyson’s findings in full,” he told journalists. “BBC employees lied and used fake documents to obtain the interview with my mother; made lurid and false claims about the Royal Family, which played on her fears and fuelled paranoia; displayed woeful incompetence when investigating complaints and concerns about the programme; were invasive in reporting to the media, and covered up what they knew from their internal investigation.”
Prince Harry believes the BBC were ‘exploitative’
Lord Dyson’s inquiry found that Martin Bashir had used forged bank statements to convince the Princess she was being spied on – just one of the many wrongdoings which led the BBC to a guilty verdict. Prince Harry’s statement reflected this, and he called the 1995 Panorama team “exploitative”.
“To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it,” he said. “That is the first step towards justice and truth. Yet what deeply concerns me is that practices like these – and even worse – are still widespread today. Then, and now, it’s bigger than one outlet, one network, or one publication.
“Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed. By protecting her legacy, we protect everyone, and uphold the dignity with which she lived her life. Let’s remember who she was and what she stood for.”
BBC lost out on rights to the Queen’s Christmas Message
In the month after the documentary, Buckingham Palace gave partial production rights of the Queen’s Annual Christmas Message to another company
While the Palace denies this had anything to do with Princess Diana’s no-holds-barred interview, senior broadcasters from the BBC believed this wasn’t true. Just weeks after the Panorama Special aired, ITN announced it was to produce the next Christmas Message instead of the BBC.
Spokespeople for BBC as well as the Palace said this wasn’t intended to be a vindictive move – but “arrangements” must “reflect the composition of the television and radio industries today.” In other words, the royals believed they were just moving with the modern times.
The Crown season five is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.
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Featured image via Netflix.