Princess Diana agreed to a controversial interview with BBC Panorama to discuss her struggling relationship with Prince Charles three years into their separation. The Princess of Waled disclosed details about extramarital affairs both herself and her husband had been having since their marriage began to collapse a decade earlier. According to former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond, the revelations spurred the Queen into action for the first time in Charles’ life.
While no confirmation was ever issued by Buckingham Palace, it is widely believed Her Majesty personally ordered the Prince and Princess of Wales to break up after years of public skirmishes.
Royal commentator Richard Kay, a close friend of Princess Diana, suggested the fight dubbed the War of the Wales’ could have been severely “damaging” for the future of the Royal Family.
Mr Kay said: “It was sort of dominating royal coverage, it was overshadowing all the good works of the Royal Family.
“And they thought it was sort of corroding public attitudes toward the House of Windsor. It was very damaging times for the Queen.”
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Biographer Penny Junor said: “The monarchy was going through a really, really rocky time because monarchy is supposed to be all about unifying the country.
“What Charles and Diana were doing by being at war with one another was splitting the country.”
Speculation about the BBC Panorama interview reignited after Prince William issued an unexpected statement in which he “tentatively” welcomed an inquiry on how the exchange between Princess Diana and reporter Martin Bashir was arranged.
Diana’s brother, the Earl Spencer, earlier last month claimed his late sister had agreed to talk to the BBC journalist after she was confronted with a series of forged bank statements to pressure her into collaborating to the programme.
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In the statement, Prince William said: “The independent investigation is a step in the right direction.
“It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time.”
The BBC confirmed on Wednesday the appointment of Lord Dyson, one of the country’s most senior retired judges to lead the inquiry.
BBC Director-General Sir Tim Davie said: “The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation.
“Lord Dyson is an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process.”