While a fresh investigation has been launched into Princess Diana's interview with Martin Bashir for BBC's Panorama, a new shocking detail has emerged that it made her extremely paranoid and eventually contributed to her death.
Princess Diana's friend Rosa Monckton has revealed that the British royal became paranoid about plots against her due to lies filled in her head by interviewer Martin Bashir. Monckton, who named Diana the godmother to her daughter, told Daily Mail that she noticed a "sudden change" in her behaviour after she came in contact with the journalist.
Amid claims that the Panorama interviewer forged bank documents and told Diana fabricated stories to get her interview, Monckton recalled about the time: "Diana changed from being very concerned with day-to-day matters, just like any normal friend, to suddenly becoming obsessed with plots against her."
Monckton revealed that Diana became so paranoid that she started suspecting Prince Charles was having an affair with her sons William and Harry's nanny, Tiggy Legge-Bourke, and so changed her landline number at Kensington Palace. Diana's interview with Bashir was shortly followed by her divorce from Prince Charles.
Monckton said: "She believed Bashir's outrageous claims — one of his skills, clearly, was in exploiting her susceptibility to the idea that she was being spied on by 'enemies.' He even commissioned forged documents to prove this."
"You have to remember that this was a woman who spent all her married life being chased by the paparazzi. Little wonder she was susceptible," she added.
Monckton said Diana told her about her infamous television appearance only on the day it aired instead of telling her beforehand, as she knew she would tell her not to do it. About the interview which was watched by 23 million people at the time, Monckton said: "She was in the grip of interviewer Martin Bashir, and there was not even a glimpse of the level-headed, fun-loving and compassionate person who was my friend."
"The most chilling part, in retrospect, was when Bashir asked: 'Do you really believe that a campaign has been waged against you?' For what has become clear, thanks to the Mail's disclosures about the heartless and dishonest way Bashir secured his interview with Diana, is the tragic irony behind the question," Monckton noted.
Monckton insisted that Bashir's unethical conduct indirectly contributed to her death, as it broke her ties with the royal family and made her vulnerable on that fateful night in Paris where she died in a car crash after being chased by paparazzi. She said the interview which was "dishonestly achieved" probably changed the course of history, prompting Diana and Charles to begin divorce proceedings and make decisions made hurriedly with long-term implications.
Explaining her claim about Bashir being unknowingly involved in Diana's death, Monckton said: "Among those decisions was the fact that Diana lost her royal title. Had she retained it, she would have still been in the embrace of the Royal Family when in Paris on August 31, 1997. And she would almost certainly not have been in the incapable hands of a speeding drunk driver employed by Mohamed Al-Fayed, who owned the Ritz Hotel where she and his son, Dodi, had dined."
Monckton said if allegations that BBC helped cover up Bashir's misconduct are true, the broadcaster is equally responsible for the car accident. She said: "For the BBC, our national broadcasting corporation, to behave in this devious and underhand way is just as bad as any of the hunting pack of paparazzi."
Monckton also said Diana told her she regretted doing the Panorama interview because "of the damage it did to my boys."