BBC makes donations to charities linked with Diana from Panorama interview sales

Diana, Princess of Wales (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Diana, Princess of Wales (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

The BBC has made charitable donations to a sum of £1.42 million shared equally between seven charities linked with Princess Diana, it has announced.

The corporation said it has donated to Centrepoint, English National Ballet, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, The Leprosy Mission, National Aids Trust, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and The Diana Award.

The proceeds are derived from sales of the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana conducted by then-BBC journalist Martin Bashir, which made global headlines as the princess spoke openly about her marriage to the Prince of Wales.

She famously told Bashir “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded”.

Last year, a report by Lord Dyson concluded that the BBC covered up “deceitful behaviour” by Bashir to secure the bombshell interview and led to a call from the Duke of Cambridge for it never to be aired again.

The BBC has previously issued an apology for the circumstances in which the interview was obtained.

The broadcaster said: “The BBC had indicated its intention to donate to charity the sales proceeds derived from the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

“The BBC has now done so.

“Given the findings of Lord Dyson, we think this is the right and appropriate course of action.”

Diana, Princess of Wales (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Wire)
Diana, Princess of Wales (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Wire)

The donations come from the BBC’s commercial revenue and not from the Licence Fee, the corporation said.

In July this year, the BBC vowed to “never” again broadcast clips from the interview.

Director-general Tim Davie said: “Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained, I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again, nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters.

“It does of course remain part of the historical record and there may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts for journalistic purposes, but these will be few and far between and will need to be agreed at executive committee level and set in the full context of what we now know about the way the interview was obtained.

“I would urge others to exercise similar restraint.”

A spokesperson from Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity said: “Princess Diana was a key supporter of the hospital, which she visited on a number of occasions.

“The Prince of Wales and Princess Diana became the patrons of the Wishing Well Appeal in 1986, and in 1989 she was appointed president of the hospital.

“As a charity, we exist to support the hospital’s most urgent needs, and this donation will be hugely beneficial in helping seriously ill children from across the UK who are treated at GOSH.”

A Centrepoint spokesperson said: “Every year we support thousands of homeless young people into a job and a home by providing safe and stable accommodation, support with physical and mental health issues and opportunities to access education, training and employment.

“None of this work would be possible without donations so we’re grateful to receive this generous sum at a time when the country’s most vulnerable young people are really struggling.”

Diana, the Princess of Wales (PA) (PA Wire)
Diana, the Princess of Wales (PA) (PA Wire)

A spokesperson for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity said: “This donation will help us to ensure The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust’s nurses, doctors and research teams can continue to provide the very best care and develop life-saving treatments for people with cancer across the UK and around the world.

“Making a difference to the lives of people with cancer is a cause that Diana, Princess of Wales, supported as President of The Royal Marsden, a role which has since been held by HRH The Duke of Cambridge.”

Wayne Bulpitt, chairman of trustees at The Diana Award, said: “As a charity, we depend on public funds to help us achieve our mission and we are grateful to the BBC for this donation which will go a long way to helping further our work.”

Deborah Gold, chief executive of National Aids Trust, said: “Princess Diana will forever be cherished as our patron who made an enormous contribution to HIV awareness. We wouldn’t be where we are today without her, and we strive to build on her legacy every day.

“We will ensure the donation is used to make progress on issues that Princess Diana cared passionately about.

“Princess Diana powerfully challenged HIV stigma during her time with National Aids Trust. We will continue to fiercely protect the rights of people living with HIV and ensure they can live their fullest lives possible.

“Diana bravely spoke out against injustice and believed in dignity and respect. Sadly, this is not what she was afforded in this instance, but we will strive to honour her and do work that we believe would make her proud going forward.”