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Leading Archbishop questions Duke of Cambridge’s criticism in the wake of Martin Bashir scandal 


Will Prince William’s BBC attack stand the test of time? Leading Archbishop questions the Duke of Cambridge’s ‘devastating’ criticism in the wake of Martin Bashir scandal

  • Bishop of Leeds says William’s criticism of BBC may not ‘stand the test of time’ 
  • He also dismissed any links between the Panorama interview and Diana’s death 
  • The Duke of Cambridge had earlier accused BBC executives of failing his mother 

The Right Rev Nick Baines said Prince William’s attack on the BBC ‘may not stand the test of time’

A top Church of England bishop yesterday questioned Prince William’s criticism of the BBC over the Martin Bashir scandal.

The Bishop of Leeds said William’s ‘devastating’ attack may not ‘stand the test of time’. In the wake of Lord Dyson’s report blasting Bashir and the BBC, the angry prince accused corporation executives of failing his mother Princess Diana, fuelling her paranoia and making his parents’ relationship worse.

The Right Rev Nick Baines said: ‘He lost his mother in those circumstances. He’s got this rift with his brother [Harry] – I think it is understandable he would make a fairly devastating statement. Whether it will stand the test and scrutiny of time is for others to discuss. It’s very early days. We will have to wait and see whether it stands up to scrutiny.’

The bishop also contradicted the claim made by Diana’s brother Earl Spencer that there was a direct line between the Bashir interview in 1995 and the princess’s death in a Paris car crash in 1997. 

The Duke of Cambridge William criticised the BBC for its failings around his mother's Panorama interview

The Duke of Cambridge William criticised the BBC for its failings around his mother’s Panorama interview

He said: ‘What role the Bashir interview played, I think, is questionable. I don’t mean that it was of no account – it’s just that there’s a question over what actual role it played in the destruction that followed.’

In an interview with former BBC executive Roger Bolton, circulated by the Religion Media Centre think-tank, the bishop attacked the ‘woeful’ internal BBC inquiry following the Bashir interview.

He added: ‘I actually found it impossible to decide whether there was intention in protecting the institution or whether it was incompetence.’ 

The bishop also contradicted the claim made by Diana’s brother Earl Spencer that there was a direct line between the interview by Martin Bashir (pictured) interview in 1995

The bishop also contradicted the claim made by Diana’s brother Earl Spencer that there was a direct line between the interview by Martin Bashir (pictured) interview in 1995

The Church of England has close ties to the monarchy, with the Queen its Supreme Governor, but it relies on the BBC for most of its national broadcast time.

The bishop, pictured along with William, also took a swipe at Tory ministers, saying: ‘We have the least religiously literate Government I can remember. Some people are going to have to work very hard when it comes to [BBC] charter renewal to make the case in relation to religion and ethics.’

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