Princess Diana feared she had made a mistake by agreeing to her dramatic Panorama interview with Martin Bashir and made a frantic call to a close friends 24 hours before it aired, it has been revealed.
Astrologer Debbie Frank says Diana phoned her and said she was having last-minute doubts about going public on the state of her marriage.
She made the call despite realising it was too late to stop the interview being aired, said Debbie, who added that the princess only calmed down when she saw polls that showed the public had reacted well to it.
However, Debbie, who was one of Diana’s closest confidantes before the Princess of Wales’ death in 1997, has now slammed Bashir for manipulating the royal.
Princess Diana was worried the interview with Martin Bashir on the state of her marriage could turn the public against her
The BBC has launched an independent inquiry to look into the controversial 1995 Panorama interview
It comes after the BBC launched an independent inquiry into the 1995 Panorama interview.
Bashir, now the BBC’s religion editor, has already been accused of spreading lies about Diana’s friends and staff to win her trust, in addition to showing her faked bank statements and even telling her the security forces were planning to kill her.
Debbie told the Sunday People: ‘He exploited Diana in the way that so many other men have exploited her in her life.
‘She called me the day before it aired and said, ‘I’ve done this big thing and I hope it’s the right thing and doesn’t create too many waves. I needed to tell my story – it’s time people heard the truth.’
‘She sounded quite breathy and in a highly charged state. She was worried the public might turn against her and that she had said the wrong thing.’
The astrologer, who grew close to Diana after reading her stars in 1989, added that Bashir ‘came into a perfect storm’ with the royal convinced she was being ‘bugged for a long time’.
Astrologer Debbie Frank says Diana phoned her and said she was having last-minute doubts about going public on the state of her marriage
Royal biographer Andrew Morton also says Bashir told Princess Diana the security forces were planning to kill her, according to a new documentary.
He says Bashir warned her: ‘They’re going to wipe you.’
Mr Morton suggests the BBC reporter had shown Diana a document – supposedly a bank statement linked to the security forces – when he made the reference to an apparent threat to her life as part of his attempts to secure his infamous interview with the princess.
The claims will be broadcast in a documentary on Channel 4 on Monday night. Mr Morton says Diana was left ‘terrified’ after being ‘fed stories’ by Bashir.
The new documentary includes footage of BBC bosses celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Diana interview.
Among them was former director-general Tony Hall, the corporation’s head of news in 1995, who hailed the interview.
Martin Bashir (left) told Princess Diana the security forces were planning to kill her, according to a new documentary. Royal biographer Andrew Morton (right) says Bashir warned her: ‘They’re going to wipe you’
Mr Morton suggests the BBC reporter had shown Diana a document – supposedly a bank statement linked to the security forces – when he made the reference to an apparent threat to her life as part of his attempts to secure his infamous interview (above) with the princess
Lord Hall specifically praises Bashir, saying the reporter ‘works very hard at getting into your confidence’.
BBC documents show it was Lord Hall who effectively exonerated Bashir when evidence of the faked bank statements initially came to light.
The internal inquiry did, however, see BBC bosses decree that the graphic artist commissioned by Bashir to create the fake documents must never work for the corporation again.
Mr Morton, whose biography of Diana shocked the world upon its release in 1992, told the team behind the new documentary that Bashir played on the princess’s fears that her private secretary Patrick Jephson was in cahoots with his counterpart in Prince Charles’s team, Commander Richard Aylard.
‘They were implicated in this kind of dark conspiracy, to the point where Diana thought that her head was on the chopping block,’ Mr Morton says.
Mr Morton, whose biography of Diana shocked the world upon its release in 1992, told the team behind the new documentary that Bashir played on the princess’s fears that her private secretary Patrick Jephson was in cahoots with his counterpart in Prince Charles’s team, Commander Richard Aylard. (Above, Mr Jephson with Diana in 1996)
‘[Bashir] was feeding her stories which left her, and I am quoting from one of Diana’s confidantes here, ‘terrified, horrified’.
On one occasion, he showed her some bank statements allegedly about the security forces and said dramatically, ‘they’re going to wipe you’.’
The Diana Interview: The Truth Behind the Scandal also features Mr Jephson revealing the personal impact of the Panorama affair.
‘It upsets me more than I can say that, quite possibly, the princess died thinking that I had betrayed her,’ he says. Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris less than two years after the interview.
A BBC spokesman said the corporation was ‘determined to get to the truth of what happened’.
‘That’s why we have appointed [former Master of the Rolls] Lord Dyson to lead a fully independent investigation,’ they said.
‘It is vital that everyone with information shares that with Lord Dyson, so that he can investigate thoroughly and draw his conclusions having heard all the evidence.’
Earl Spencer admitted last week he had been ‘really shaken up’ by claims over how Bashir secured his Panorama interview with Princess Diana 25 years ago.
Diana’s brother was left ‘appalled’ at what happened behind the scenes in 1995 and at ‘who knew and why it hadn’t come out and why it hadn’t been dealt with’.
Earl Spencer said he was shocked despite ‘forming my own opinion of the journalist quite a long time ago’ and knowing ‘what he had done to a certain extent’.
The 56-year-old also said the BBC have ‘very, very serious questions to answer’ as a probe is carried out, and that he was ‘shocked and appalled’ by the revelations.
In a wide-ranging interview with ITV’s Lorraine, he also slammed The Crown for ‘playing fast and loose with history’ amid fears viewers would think it was ‘gospel’