The Duke of Sussex considers the investigation into Martin Bashir’s interview with his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, a "drive for truth," it emerged yesterday, as he signalled support for his brother.
The Duke, 36, has been closely following developments on the furore surrounding the Panorama interview and cares deeply about the Princess’s legacy.
Despite privately supporting the Duke of Cambridge in “tentatively” welcoming a judge-led inquiry, the Duke has chosen to remain silent on the subject.
But he was criticised for doing so yesterday, amid suggestions that his reticence was reflective of a rift with his brother, comments which friends described as “deeply offensive”.
A source close to the Duke told the Telegraph: “Harry is getting regular updates and is aware of everything that is happening.
“You do not need a public statement to imagine how he is feeling privately, people know how much his mother means to him.
He has bravely spoken out in the past about loss and grief, and the immense impact it has had on him.
“Sadly, some people are not just seeing this as a drive for truth, but also trying to use this as an opportunity to try to drive a wedge between the brothers.”
Princes Harry and William with their parents in 1995
Credit: Tom Wargacki
Both brothers are understood to have been in close contact with their uncle, Earl Spencer, who has been keeping them abreast of progress.
After weeks of allegations about the subterfuge used to win the Princess’s trust, about forged bank statements and fantastical stories, Tim Davie, the BBC director general, announced an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the interview and the apparent cover-up.
In his first intervention since the row plunged the BBC into crisis, the Duke of Cambridge, 38, on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of Lord Dyson, a former Master of the Rolls, to lead the investigation, describing it as "a step in the right direction" that would "help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview".
His comments were widely seen as an indication into how carefully the Duke is monitoring developments and his concern over the allegations.
While his brother, who is being kept updated at his new home in California, backs the inquiry, he is understood to feel wary of a campaign led by tabloid newspapers that he holds partly responsible for his mother’s death.
The sensitivities surrounding the investigation were laid bare last night when Lord Spencer revealed that he was “not at all satisfied” with its parameters.
He revealed on Twitter that he had told the BBC Lord Dyson “must be free to examine every aspect of this matter, from 1995 to today, as he sees fit.”
He did not explain which elements he deemed missing from the terms of reference for the inquiry but one aspect of the scandal that has not been included is the BBC’s decision to rehire Martin Bashir as religious affairs correspondent in 2016.
Lord Spencer wrote on Twitter: “As I’ve told the BBC this evening, I’m not at all satisfied with the parameters they’ve set around their enquiry into the @BBCPanorama interview with Diana of 25 years ago tonight. Lord Dyson must be free to examine every aspect of this matter, from 1995 to today, as he sees fit.”