On November 20, 1995, Princess Diana shook the British royal family with the so-called “Panorama” interview. Never has a royal been as exposed about his private life in public as Diana. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the TV broadcast, GALA summarizes the exciting facts about the interview. Part 2.
What does Princess Diana say in the “Panorama” interview?
Diana’s most shocking and lasting sentence relates to the affair between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles. After over a decade of speculation, the princess admits, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage so it was a little crowded.” She adds, “I’m not sitting here with resentment. I’m sitting here with sadness because marriage didn’t work.” She also confirms that she had an affair with James Hewitt before breaking up with Charles. The then 34-year-old also talks about her bulimia, depression and self-harm.
When Martin Bashir asks Diana if she thinks she will ever become queen, she says she won’t, but hopes that she will become “the queen of human hearts.” Another big scandal is Diana’s comment that she doesn’t think Charles is suitable for the role as king. Although Princess Diana did not ask to see Martin Bashir’s questions beforehand, according to the BBC, it is believed that she was aware of the hot topics that would be involved.
Read here why Diana spoke so exposed in public and what Prince Charles had to do with it.
Why is the interview such an affront to the royal family?
Queen Elizabeth and the royal family have an important mantra for their communication policy: “Never complain, never explain.” That means: family matters are clarified behind closed doors. Diana disregards this rule with the “Panorama” interview, in a scandalous way. The themes of adultery, bulimia, depression, suicide and most importantly, the voiced doubts about Charles’ suitability as king are the stuff palace nightmares are made of.
What does the public say about Diana’s performance?
In Peak, 22.8 million viewers tuned in to “Panorama” – a record for the show, which has been running since 1953. The next day, the whole world is talking about the appearance of Diana – and continues to do so today. Especially her admission to have had an affair with James Hewitt dominated the headlines. Diana is described as “deceitful” and “devious” by representatives of the establishment, but according to surveys, her openness is met with approval and understanding among the people.
How do the palace and the royals react?
The appearance is a PR disaster for the palace. Never before had a high-ranking member of the royal family made such statements about his (unsuccessful) private life. One was shocked, says the ex-press spokesman for the Queen, Dickie Arbiter, in the “Channel 5” documentary “Diana: An Interview That Shocked the World”. According to her mantra, the Queen is silent in public. Behind the scenes, she is said to have described Diana’s appearance to then-BBC employee Sir Richard Eyre as a “terrible thing”. This is supposedly how Prince William feels.
How does Prince William take Diana’s words?
Royal author Katie Nicholl reveals in 2017 in the Amazon Prime documentary “William and Harry: Brothers in Arms” that William called his mother in “Anger und Anger” after the “Panorama” interview. A friend of Diana’s told her: “It was the only time that William turned against his mother and said that he would never forgive Diana for what she had done.”
Years later, William shows himself forgiving in the BBC documentary “Diana, 7 Days”. “I, who have been in situations like this sometimes, can understand it,” he says of the “Panorama” interview. “You feel incredibly desperate and very unfair for things to be said that are not true. The easiest way is to express yourself or go to the media. Open that door. [Aber] once you open it, you can never close it again. “
Read tomorrow in part three of the “Panorama” interview, which ultimatum Queen Diana and Charles will give after the interview and which words Diana regrets in retrospect.
Sources used:bbc.com, mailonline.com, express.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk, people.com, theindependent.co.uk