Journalist Martin Bashir has broken his silence following the publication of the Dyson Report, telling The Sunday Times he doesn’t believe he harmed Princess Diana “in any way”.
In an interview with the paper, Bashir apologises to Prince Harry and William over the 1995 BBC Panorama interview that was later found to be secured under false pretences.
However, he stops short of admitting that he duped Diana into the interview.
He told The Sunday Times: “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… My family and I loved her.
“I don’t feel I can be held responsible for many of the other things that were going on in her life, and the complex issues surrounding those decisions.”
Bashir adds: “I can understand the motivation [of Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother] but to channel the tragedy, the difficult relationship between the royal family and the media purely on to my shoulders feels a little unreasonable… the suggestion I am singularly responsible I think is unreasonable and unfair.”
It emerged on Saturday that Earl Spencer has written to the Metropolitan Police chief to ask the force to look again at the circumstances surrounding the interview.
In the newspaper interview, Bashir also alluded to his friendship with the princess, saying that they were friends and took drives together before the interview was conducted.
When talking about the forged bank statements he showed the Earl Spencer to secure the interview, Bashir went on to say: “Obviously I regret it, it was wrong.
“But it had no bearing on anything. It had no bearing on [Diana], it had no bearing on the interview.”
He tells the paper that he ultimately wants the interview to be remembered for what Diana said, rather than the scandal, saying: “I would love for people to reflect on what a trailblazer she was.
“The saddest thing is that all of this crap – built on my stupidity… people haven’t focused on the remarkable things she did.”
Bashir, who up until last weekend still worked at the BBC, also told the paper he didn’t understand the purpose of the interview.
“OK, maybe you want to destroy me, but outside of this, what’s the point? I did something wrong… but for pity’s sake, acknowledge something of the relationship we had and something of what she contributed through that interview.
“One of the saddest things about all of this has been the way the content of what she said has almost been ignored.”
He ended the interview saying he is “properly repentant” for what has happened.
Former BBC director-general Lord Hall, who was heavily criticised in the Dyson report for his botched inquiry into how the interview was obtained, resigned on Saturday as chairman of the National Gallery, saying continuing in the role “would be a distraction to an institution I care deeply about”.
He had also faced questions over the BBC’s decision to rehire Bashir in 2016, even though it was known he had lied about the bank statements.