BBC Pays ‘Substantial Sum’ To Princess Diana’s Private Secretary Over Interview From 27 Years Ago

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The BBC has apologized to the former private secretary of Diana, Princess of Wales, and paid him a “substantial sum” in damages nearly 30 years after the actions of a disgraced reporter.

“After more than 25 years, it is a relief finally to reach a conclusion to this painful episode,” Commander Patrick Jephson said in a statement, according to the Guardian, “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.”

Jephson was Princess Diana’s private secretary when journalist Martin Bashir forged documents to “groom” her brother, Earl Spencer, into setting up the-now infamous interview with the Princess, the Guardian reported. Bashir commissioned forged documents purporting to show how payments were being made into Jephson’s account from an intelligence service, the Daily Mail reported.

Bashir also “invented the idea that he and Princess Diana had” an “established relationship” prior to his Panorama Interview, according to Spencer, as reported in another Guardian interview. (RELATED: BBC Journalist Martin Bashir Hits Back At Prince Harry For Blaming Diana’s Death On Unethical Practices)

BBC executives were also found to have covered up Bashir’s fraudulent behavior, Sky News reported. Former director general of the BBC, Lord Tony Hall, was implicated during the Dyson investigation into Bashir’s behavior, as he oversaw a 1996 internal review that exonerated Bashir of wrongdoing, Guardian reported.

Princess Diana’s biographer told Sky News that the only reason Bashir was able to interview her was that his actions “scared her half to death,” as he made her believe that M15 was watching her, according to the outlet. Following the release of the report detailing Bashir and the BBC’s actions, Prince William said that their actions “contributed significantly” to his mother, Diana’s, “fear, paranoia, and isolation,” the outlet reported in another article.

Diana spoke publicly with Bashir in the interview, famously saying that “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” Sky News noted.