An investigator into Princess Diana’s death says he had an “emotional” discussion with Prince Harry and Prince William.
Lord John Stevens, 79, a former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, recalled speaking to the Princess of Wales’ two sons at their home of Kensington Palace in the immediate aftermath of the 1997 car crash in Paris that killed their mother, aged 36 and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed, the 42-year-old son of the former proprietor of Fulham FC and the iconic Knightsbridge department store, Harrods, Mohamed Al-Fayed.
He told US Weekly: “I have to say, I was quite emotional about it myself,” before adding that the two teenagers were upset about the “paparazzi” and how they chased the car.
He continued: “What they were angry about, they declared it publicly, were the paparazzi who they thought were very much behind what had taken place by chasing the car and making the car or inducing the car to go at 75 miles an hour. They weren’t too happy about that. I can tell you.”
Lord Stevens labelled the exchange “a difficult thing to do”.
He said: “Yes, of course, it was a difficult thing [to do]. So, I went along with two other people who were part of the investigation [including a] detective inspector, and [when we were] outside the door], it was said, ‘No, they only wanna see you,’ that’s me.”
“So, I went in there and we had … over an hour, probably, I can’t remember exactly how long. I outlined what the conclusions were for about 10 or 15 minutes and then the rest of the time was them asking me questions, which you’d expect because they didn’t know the circumstances of their mother’s death, where [and] when she’d died, what did she say and, and beyond that, I don’t wanna declare what the conversations were.”
As adults, the two royals have criticised the way their mother was hounded by the press, most notably when the Duke of Cambridge issued a scathing statement about the 1995 interview his mother did on ‘Panorama’ after a report by Lord Dyson found that journalist Martin Bashir was in “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines.
The 40-year-old prince said: “It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said.
“The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.
“It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.
“But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived.
“She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions.”
“It is my firm view that this Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again.
“It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised by the BBC and others.”