LONDON (AP) â€” The BBC said Thursday that it has apologized and paid a â€œsubstantialâ€ sum to Princess Dianaâ€™s private secretary over subterfuge used to get an explosive television interview with the late royal.
The U.K.â€™s national broadcaster said it acknowledged that â€œserious harmâ€ was caused to Patrick Jephson by the circumstances in which the 1995 interview, conducted by BBC journalist Martin Bashir, was obtained.
â€œThe BBC apologizes unreservedly to Commander Jephson for the harm caused to him and has paid his legal costs,â€ it said in a statement. â€œThe BBC has also paid Commander Jephson a substantial sum in damages, which he intends to donate in full to British charities nominated by him.â€
The 1995 interview, in which Diana discussed the breakdown of her relationship with Prince Charles â€” famously saying â€œThere were three of us in this marriageâ€ in reference to Charlesâ€™ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles â€” was watched by 23 million people in Britain and sent shockwaves through the monarchy.
A report last year by a retired senior judge found Bashir used â€œdeceitful behaviorâ€ to get the interview, including showing Dianaâ€™s brother fake bank statements that falsely suggested members of Dianaâ€™s inner circle were being paid to spy on her. Judge John Dyson said the BBC obscured Bashirâ€™s misconduct for 25 years.
Jephson said that â€œafter more than 25 years, it is a relief finally to reach a conclusion to this painful episode.â€
He said he would donate his settlement to a childrenâ€™s hospice in Dianaâ€™s memory.
Diana divorced Charles in 1996 and died in a Paris car crash in 1997 as she was pursued by paparazzi. Charles, the heir to the throne, married Camilla, now the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005.
Dianaâ€™s brother, Charles Spencer, tweeted that it was â€œappalling what Patrick Jephson had to go through as a result of grotesque â€˜journalismâ€™â€ and said the issue had been â€œcovered up for so long by senior peopleâ€ at the BBC.