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Martin Bashir has responded to criticism over his interview with Princess Diana in 1995.
The BBC Paronama journalist, 58, has insisted the Princess of Wales “wanted” to speak with Martin – despite sons Prince Harry and Prince William’s claims their mother was deceived.
Martin has told Harry, 36, and William, 38, he is “deeply sorry” in a candid interview, breaking his silence following the backlash over his chat in 1995.
But, he has insisted he did not wrong the Princess of Wales into speaking. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Martin said: “I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don’t believe we did.
“Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents … My family and I loved her.”
The BBC journalist also shared his sadness over the Princes’ loss of their mother, following her tragic death in 1997.
“I can’t imagine what their family must feel each day,” he said. “Although I know a little of that myself having lost a brother and father prematurely.”
Martin then insisted he did not feed Diana fantastical stories in order to gain the interview.
He said: “Even in the early 1990s, there were stories and secretly recorded phone calls. I wasn’t the source of any of that.”
The journalist went on to insist that if the Princess wasn’t happy with the interview, she would not have continued their friendship or visited Martin’s wife when she gave birth at St George’s Hospital in Tooting when they welcomed a third child.
“We were friends,” he said. “She was spectacular. She said to me: ‘You must let me know the moment the baby arrives,’ and an hour later, there was a knock on the delivery room and in she walked.”
Martin also revealed how Diana had written his wife a letter to invite the family to Scotland after his wife developed pleurisy – inflammation of tissue between the lungs and ribcage.
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She told Martin in a letter seen by the publication: “I wondered if the idea of staying a couple of nights in Scotland (!) might appeal?”
“I’m so sorry to hear how uncomfortable you’ve been.”
It comes after Prince Harry and Prince William criticised the BBC over the “deceitful” interview with Diana, following a report into the BBC’s practices around gaining the interview.
Prince William 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.”
Meanwhile the Duke of Sussex said in a separate statement: “Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave and unquestionably honest.
“The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.”
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