Prince William and Prince Harry’s former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke is to receive substantial damages from the BBC following Martin Bashir’s 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.
Tiggy, now Mrs. Alexandra Pettifer, had brought a defamation claim against the BBC over “false and malicious” allegations that she had had an affair with Prince Charles in 1995 while working as his personal assistant.
The court was also told on Thursday that Tiggy was falsely accused of falling pregnant with Charles’ baby and having an abortion.
Tiggy successfully settled her claim and will have her legal costs also paid by the BBC, saying: “I am disappointed that it needed legal action for the BBC to recognize the serious harm I have been subjected to.
“Sadly, I am one of many people whose lives have been scarred by the deceitful way in which the BBC Panorama was made and the BBC’s subsequent failure to properly investigate the making of the programme.
Tiggy pictured with Harry and William in Balmoral in 1994
“The distress caused to the royal family is a source of great upset to me. I know first-hand how much they were affected at the time, and how the programme and the false narrative it created have haunted the family in the years since.
“Especially because, still today, so much about the making of the programme is yet to be adequately explained.”
In a statement, BBC director-general Tim Davie also said: “Following publication of the Dyson Report last year we have been working with those who suffered as a result of the deceitful tactics used by the BBC in pursuit of its interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for the Panorama programme in 1995, including the matters that were mentioned in court today in respect of Miss Tiggy Legge-Bourke, now Mrs. Alexandra Pettifer.”
Confirming that the BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Tiggy, he added: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologize publicly to her, to the Prince of Wales, and to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives.
“It is a matter of great regret that the BBC did not get to the facts in the immediate aftermath of the programme when there were warning signs that the interview might have been obtained improperly. Instead, as the Duke of Cambridge himself put it, the BBC failed to ask the tough questions.
“Had we done our job properly Princess Diana would have known the truth during her lifetime. We let her, the royal family and our audiences down.”
Martin Bashir and the BBC came under fire for their 1995 Panorama interview
He concluded by announcing that the BBC will never show the Panorama programme again nor will they license it in whole or part to other broadcasters, but did caveat: “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.”