A Handwritten Note from Princess Diana Claiming She Wasn't Manipulated Into Her BBC Interview Has Gone Missing

A handwritten note from Princess Diana that would allegedly refute claims she was manipulated into her infamous BBC Panorama interview is missing.

  • More than 25 years after Princess Diana's explosive interview with BBC1 Panorama, the sit-down is at the center of controversy yet again.
  • A new Channel 4 documentary, Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview has reignited claims that Bashir manipulated or coerced the late royal into participating the tell-all interview, in which she discussed the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles. 
  • The BBC investigated similar reports shortly after the interview first aired in 1995 and claims that, as part of its inquiry, Diana wrote and signed a letter confirming that no coercion had taken place. That letter, however, has since gone missing.

In 1995, Princess Diana (opens in new tab) rocked the royal family—and, TBH, the entire world—when she gave an explosive interview on BBC1 Panorama (opens in new tab)During the interview with journalist Martin Bashir, she candidly discussed the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles (opens in new tab), including the role that his infidelity played in their separation. "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," she famously explained.

Now, 25 years later, the Channel 4 documentary, Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview (opens in new tab) has claims that Bashir may have manipulated the late royal to coerce her into participating in the interview. According to the Daily Mail (opens in new tab), Bashir was "a relatively unknown reporter at the time" and the new investigative documentary claims that he forged bank statements to get Diana (opens in new tab) to agree to the career-making interview. Specifically, the doc explores claims that Bashir created fake documents that made it look like a former member of Diana's household had been paid to leak stories.

This isn't the first time these kinds of claims have circulated. The BBC initially investigated the issue just a few months after the interview aired, when stories first emerged that Bashir may have faked documents and coerced the royal. Diana (opens in new tab), who was alive at the time of the BBC's inquiry, apparently wrote and signed a letter affirming that she hadn't been shown any documents by Bashir. That letter, however, has apparently gone missing.

"The BBC's internal records from the time say that the princess confirmed in writing that these documents played no part in her decision to give the interview," the BBC said in a recent statement to the Telegraph (opens in new tab). "The BBC no longer possesses a physical copy of this note. But its existence is documented in the records, and it was seen at the time by management."

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Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.