Princess Diana's Former Secretary Just Got A Big Payout From The BBC

In 1995, millions of people tuned in to watch then-unknown journalist Martin Bashir interview Princess Diana (per the Daily Mail). Questions were immediately raised in the aftermath of the event, as many wondered who Bashir was and how he gained access to the princess. These questions were largely pushed aside, though, as attention focused on what the Princess of Wales revealed during the interview. 

At the time, she was recently separated from Prince Charles, and she delivered an iconic line when asked about Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. "Well, there were three of us in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded," Diana said. In addition to her relationship with Charles, Diana opened up about her affair with Captain James Hewitt, and her struggles with bulimia (per The New Yorker). 

The interview rocketed Bashir into a household name, but it didn't take long for the truth to come out regarding how he initially secured the opportunity. In 1996, Matt Wiessler came forward to say that Bashir had asked him to forge documents that were used to help earn Diana's trust (via BBC). As The New Yorker reported, the documents show alleged payments made to her private secretary, Patrick Jephson, by an unknown corporation in the Channel Islands. This intrigued Diana, which is why she agreed to speak with Bashir. 

It has since been revealed that the BBC lied to Princess Diana to get the interview, and those close to the princess at the time are now seeing reimbursements from the BBC due to this violation.

Princess Diana's personal secretary finally got an apology for the Bashir interview

One person who felt the blowback from Princess Diana's interview was her personal secretary, Commander Patrick Jephson. Jephson worked as the princess' secretary and equerry from 1988 to 1996 (per the Daily Mail). This made him "responsible for every aspect of her public life and humanitarian initiatives," according to the publication. At the time of the Martin Bashir interview, Jephson reportedly spoke about his "outrage that somebody should have exploited the princess" (per The U.S. Sun).

The Bashir interview made headlines again in 2020 when an independent investigation was opened following an expose written in the Daily Mail about the claims. The Dyson investigation showed that the BBC covered up Bashir's deceitful behavior, and that they "fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency," per The Guardian.

The report also determined payments would be made to several people, including Commander Jephson. According to a statement made by the BBC, a "substantial sum" is going to be paid to a charity of his choice for "the serious harm caused to him" (via The Times). Jephson released an official statement following the announcement. "After more than 25 years, it is a relief finally to reach a conclusion to this painful episode," Jephson wrote (via The Guardian).

In his statement, Jephson also revealed that he will be donating the payment from BBC to Ty Hafan, a hospice charity for children in Wales, "in memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales."