BBC apologizes to royal nanny caught off guard by Diana report

LONDON. She was the collateral victim of one of the most sensational reports in British television history, the royal nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry, tainted by the BBC looking for an interview with their mother, Princess Diana.

On Thursday, the BBC apologized to former nanny Alexandra Pettifer, then known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, for spreading false claims that she had an affair with Prince Charles and had an abortion after becoming pregnant by him. The BBC also agreed to pay her a substantial, albeit undisclosed, amount in damages.

“These charges were fabricated,” said Mrs. Wilson. Pettyfer’s lawyer Louise Prince read out a jointly agreed statement in London’s High Court.

The BBC said in a statement that she is “extremely sorry for the serious and lasting harm” caused to Ms by the allegations. Pettifer, and that they were “completely unfounded” and “should never have been made”.

Mrs. Pettifer, 57, became an ominous footnote in a soap opera about Charles and Diana’s life when ambitious young BBC journalist Martin Bashir began spreading reports of her alleged sexual affairs with Charles, apparently to gain Diana’s trust in order to she give him an exclusive candid interview.

mr. Bashir also told Diana that people close to her were selling stories about her to London tabloids and he created fake bank statements to undermine a rival news organization. These behind-the-scenes methods led Mr. Bashir interview for the BBC Panorama program in 1995, which made the same impression as an interview with Harry and his wife Meghan. Oprah Winfrey gift in March 2021.

“There were three of us in this marriage,” Diana famously told Mr. Black. Bashir of her husband and Camilla Parker-Bowles, with whom he had a relationship before and during his marriage and whom he later married.

The program has since become a source of shame and expense for the BBC. The broadcaster apologized to the royal family, made amends to other people it discredited, and vowed never to air it again.

Questions about Mr. Bashir’s tactics were raised shortly after the interview was aired, most eloquently by Diana’s brother, Charles, Earl Spencer. An internal BBC investigation exonerated him. Bashir, but in 2021 an investigation by former UK Supreme Court Justice Lord John Dyson concluded that “the BBC does not live up to the high standards of honesty and transparency that are its hallmark.”

Credit…Fred Prouser/Reuters

On Thursday, BBC CEO Tim Davy issued another apology to the royal family, as well as a new apology to Mrs George. Pettifer.

“It is very regrettable that the BBC did not disclose the facts immediately after the program aired, when there were troubling signs that the interview might have been improperly obtained,” he said. David said. “If we had done our job properly, Princess Diana would have known the truth in her lifetime.”

BBC, Mr. Davy reiterated that he would never again broadcast the program or license it to other broadcasters. Because of its historical value, he did not rule out showing excerpts from the interview.

mr. Bashir, who continued to work for ABC News and returned to the BBC as a religious correspondent, resigned from the broadcaster in May 2021, citing ill health. He expressed regret over his methods, but insisted they ultimately played no role in Diana agreeing to be interviewed.

Mrs. Pettifer was one of the ever-changing characters in the constant coverage of the Charles and Diana tabloids. The daughter of a wealthy banker who served in the Royal Horse Guards, she grew up in the aristocratic world of Swiss schools and a family estate in Wales, and later opened a kindergarten. Charles hired her as a nanny for his sons shortly after he and Diana separated in 1993.

Newspapers came across rumors that Diana objected to Mrs. Black. Pettifer’s childcare practices – she smoked while caring for William and Harry – and passed on second-hand views of what young princes really need (“fresh air, a gun and a horse”), The Guardian reported in 1999.

But the rumors that the nanny contacted the boys’ father were never confirmed.

In 1999, she left the Prince Charles family and married Charles Pettifer, a former officer in the Coldstream Guards. Their wedding was attended by William and Harry, who were said to adore her.

In a statement released by The Sunday Times, M. Pettifer said: “I am disappointed that the BBC needed legal action to acknowledge the serious harm I have suffered.” She said she knew “firsthand” how much the interview with Diana affected the royal family and that their grief “is a source of great distress to me”.