Princess Diana ‘Panorama’ Interview: BBC Apologizes, Pays Private Secretary Jephson ‘Substantial’ Damages

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The BBC and Commander Patrick Jephson, who was private secretary to Princess Diana, have reached a settlement over the harm caused to him around the infamous 1995 BBC “Panorama” interview.

Princess Diana was interviewed by journalist Martin Bashir on the program. An independent investigation into the program, conducted by Lord Dyson, found that the public broadcaster “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.” The Dyson report also found that Bashir used deceitful methods to gain access to Princess Diana. These included Bashir allegedly forging bank statements showing that Jephson and a colleague had received off-shore payments.

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Jephson, who served with the Princess for eight years, was her private secretary at the time.

Seeing these supposed payments to Jephson was what convinced Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer to introduce Bashir to her, Spencer had said.

“The BBC accepts and acknowledges that serious harm was caused to Commander Jephson as a result of the circumstances in which the 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales was obtained, which have become apparent as a result of the Dyson Report,” the BBC said in a statement on Thursday. “The BBC apologises unreservedly to Commander Jephson for the harm caused to him and has paid his legal costs. The BBC has also paid Commander Jephson a substantial sum in damages, which he intends to donate in full to British charities nominated by him.”

Jephson said: “After more than twenty-five years, it is a relief finally to reach a conclusion to this painful episode. I am grateful to Lord Dyson and the journalists whose tenacity has brought the truth to light, and I now look forward to donating the damages I have been awarded to Ty Hafan, the hospice for children in Wales, in memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.”

Graphic designer Matt Wiessler, who has said that he was asked to create the bank documents by Bashir, also received damages from the BBC in 2021.

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