, a British journalist, apologized to Princess Diana
's sons for tricking her into giving an explosive BBC interview
Bashir apologized to Prince William
and Harry in a Sunday newspaper interview, but insisted that his deeply personal conversation with the fragile princess did not harm her.
“I never wanted to harm Diana in any way, and I don’t believe we did,” he told London
’s Sunday Times, adding, “Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted — from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents.”
Bashir was described as a "broken man who can't quite admit he wronged Diana" by the New York
After a six-month investigation
, former British Supreme Court
judge John Dyson concluded that Diana was duped into agreeing to the interview with the help of bank documents Bashir instructed a BBC graphic artist to doctor.
The records were given to Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, and appeared to show that media
mogul Rupert Murdoch
's News International was paying a security guard and possibly even Diana and Prince Charles
' private secretaries to provide information about Diana. Bashir used the shared information to persuade Spencer to arrange a meeting with his sister.
Bashir, according to Spencer, showed him the documents "to groom me so that he could then get to Diana for the interview he was always secretly after."
Bashir issued an apology
statement on Thursday, apologizing for "the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up." However, he insisted that it was not the fake documents that convinced Diana to participate in the interview.
“It was a stupid thing to do and an action I deeply regret,” he said in the statement, adding, “I also reiterate that the bank statements had no bearing whatsoever on Princess Diana’s personal choice to participate in the interview.” Bashir reiterated that defense to the Sunday Times, but did not reveal what he believed convinced her to participate.
“She pioneered in addressing so many... issues, and that is why I will always be immensely proud of that interview,” he added.
Diana discussed the pain of Charles’ long-term, ongoing affair with then-married Camilla Parker-Bowles, who is now Charles’ wife and the Duchess of Cornwall, in her riveting, tell-all interview.
Diana also discussed her postpartum depression and battles with self-harm and bulimia after the birth of William.
Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris in 1997 while fleeing paparazzi at the age of 35 with boyfriend Dodi Fayed.
Despite complaints following the interview and an internal BBC investigation, the network cleared Bashir of wrongdoing, and the Dyson report called the BBC probe “woefully ineffective.”
BBC Chair Richard Sharp issued an apology, calling the network's failures "unacceptable."
The royal family
had no immediate reaction to Bashir's new interview, but William and Harry both issued blistering statements Thursday slamming the BBC and Bashir, who left the network earlier this month.
“Our mother died as a result of this, and nothing has changed,” the Duke of Sussex said.
The Duke of Cambridge, William, stated that Bashir's deception led to the interview and that what his mother said was skewed.
“I believe that the deceptive manner in which the interview was obtained significantly influenced what my mother said,” he said in a statement, adding that “the interview was a major contributor to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”