The Harry And Meghan Documentary Used A Controversial Princess Diana Interview The BBC Said It Would Never License Again

Prince Harry talking in the Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan
(Image credit: Netflix)

Much like Prince Harry and Meghan Markel’s revealing interview with Oprah, the couple's new Netflix docuseries Harry and Meghan on the 2022 TV schedule is dropping a lot of new information about the royal couple and everything they’ve gone through. The first three episodes dropped this morning, and people were quick to pick up on the use of a controversial interview of Harry’s mother Princess Diana, which is an interview the BBC said it would never license again. 

The trailers for Harry and Meghan use old footage to present an argument about how terribly they’ve been treated by the press. In the trailers alone we learned about the threats the couple faced before they left the UK. Now that the first three episodes are out we are learning even more about the couple’s journey from dating, to a royal engagement, to them eventually stepping away from their royal duties and moving to the United States, and how they were treated in the eyes of the press. The Duke of Sussex also talks about how his mother was treated by the media, which is how we come to this BBC clip. 

Before the clip is played during the first episode of Harry & Meghan, Prince Harry said: 

I think we all now know she was deceived into giving the interview, but at the same time she spoke the truth of her experience.

Harry’s remarks appear to contradict the narrative the royals have created around this interview. Prince William has said previously (via Deadline) that the BBC interview of his mother “holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again.” 

In the Panorama interview from November 20, 1995, Princess Diana talked about how the media treated her, and in the Netflix docuseries they used a clip from it where she said: 

I still to this day find the interest daunting and phenomenal, because I actually don’t like being the center of attention. When I have my public duties I understand when I get out the car I’m being photographed. But actually it’s now when I go out my door, my front door I’m being photographed. I never know where a lens is going to be.

According to Deadline, this interview became notorious for Diana saying “there were three of us in the marriage,” in reference to now-King Charles, and his relationship with now-Queen Consort Camilla Parker-Bowles. This part of the interview is not shown in the documentary. 

Following the clip of his mother in the Netflix series, Harry said:

My mum was harassed throughout her life with my dad. But after they separated the harassment went to new levels.

This interview of Princess Diana is controversial, and Martin Bashir, the BBC reporter conducting the interview, is now disgraced. According to the article, this interview from 1995 generated headlines recently when it was portrayed on The Crown. Diana’s brother Earl Charles Spencer asked for a review of the BBC and how Bashir was able to get the interview. 

What came to light was Bashir had used fake bank notes to get Diana’s trust, and in a report from Lord Dyson the BBC was condemned for “woeful incompetence.” This led to the resignation of Director General Tony Hall, who was the head of news at the time of the interview, from his role as Chairman of the National Gallery. After this report was published the BBC donated about $1.8 million to charities linked to the princess, they also said the company would never license the interview again according to the Deadline. 

The article notes that it’s unclear if Netflix obtained the rights to the Panorama clip for Harry & Meghan before the BBC said they wouldn’t license the interview anymore. 

Harry & Meghan is already generating a lot of coverage. For those with a Netflix subscription, the first three episodes are available now and the next three will be released on December 15. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.