Tiggy Legge-Bourke: BBC apologises to Prince William and Prince Harry’s former nanny

Tiggy Legge-Bourke: BBC apologises to Prince William and Prince Harry's former nanny 2
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The BBC’s apology to former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke in full

‘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.

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‘The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise 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.

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‘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.

‘Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again; nor will we licence it in whole or part to other broadcasters.

‘It does of course remain part of the historical record and 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.’

The boss of the BBC today issued a grovelling apology to the Royal Family and vowed to never again show Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Diana, as it agreed to pay their former nanny substantial damages over lies used by the rogue reporter.

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Alexandra Pettifer, better known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, 57, appeared at the High Court in London for a public apology from the broadcaster over ‘fabricated’ allegations she had had an affair with the Prince of Wales while working as Charles’ personal assistant in 1995.

Mr Bashir is also said to have tricked Diana into believing the nanny had become pregnant by Charles by showing her a faked abortion ‘receipt’.

Miss Legge-Bourke’s solicitor Louise Prince told the court today that the allegations caused ‘serious personal consequences for all concerned’.

Ms Prince said that Ms Legge-Bourke had not known the source of the allegations over the last 25 years, but that it was now likely that the ‘false and malicious allegations arose as a result and in the context of BBC Panorama’s efforts to procure an exclusive interview with Diana, Princess of Wales’.

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The corporation’s director-general directed a public apology to Charles, William and Harry, as well as Miss Legge-Bourke herself ‘for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives’.

He agreed with comments previously made by the Duke of Cambridge that the BBC ‘failed to ask the tough questions’ and admitted it was ‘a matter of great regret’ that bosses ‘did not get to the facts’.

Mr Davie pledged to never show the Panorama programme again, or provide the rights to other broadcasters, adding: ‘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.’

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However Mr Davie added that ‘there may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts’. 

Miss Legge-Bourke said in a statement this morning that the distress caused to the royal family, as well as the smears against herself, were ‘a source of great upset to me’.

Alexandra Pettifer, better known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, a former nanny to the Duke of Cambridge, outside the High Court, central London, after the BBC agreed to pay her substantial damages over "false and malicious" allegations about her used to obtain Martin Bashir's 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales

Alexandra Pettifer, better known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, a former nanny to the Duke of Cambridge, outside the High Court, central London, after the BBC agreed to pay her substantial damages over ‘false and malicious’ allegations about her used to obtain Martin Bashir’s 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales

Miss Legge-Bourke (pictured with son Tom, left, leaving court this morning) said the distress caused to the royal family, as well as the smears against herself, were 'a source of great upset to me'

Miss Legge-Bourke (pictured with son Tom, left, leaving court this morning) said the distress caused to the royal family, as well as the smears against herself, were ‘a source of great upset to me’

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The damages are the result of false claims made by the journalist, used as part of his attempts to secure his 1995 interview with Princess Diana

The damages are the result of false claims made by the journalist, used as part of his attempts to secure his 1995 interview with Princess Diana

The ex-nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry (pictured in 2005) has received substantial damages from the BBC for being smeared by former rogue reporter Martin Bashir

The ex-nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry (pictured in 2005) has received substantial damages from the BBC for being smeared by former rogue reporter Martin Bashir

Speaking after successfully settling her defamation claim, the former nanny said: ‘I am disappointed that it needed legal action for the BBC to recognise 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.

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‘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.’

Louise Prince of Harbottle & Lewis, on behalf of Alexandra Pettifer, who was known at the time as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, told the court that the former nanny was ‘relieved that the BBC accepts that the allegations are completely untrue and without any foundation whatsoever.

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‘She is also pleased that the BBC has agreed to apologise unreservedly… in order to assist her in repairing the substantial harm it has caused her.

‘The BBC has agreed to pay to her a substantial sum of damages… It has also agreed to pay her legal costs.’

The court was told that the Dyson Investigation, commissioned by the broadcaster, had ‘shed some light’ on how the interview had been secured.

The solicitor said that the ‘totally unfounded’ allegations ‘appeared to exploit some prior false speculation in the media’ about Ms Legge-Bourke and Charles.

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‘After Diana, Princess of Wales, became aware of the allegations in late 1995, she became upset with the claimant without apparent justification,’ she added.

Ms Prince said Ms Legge-Bourke ‘holds the BBC liable for the serious impact the false and malicious allegations have had.

‘Had the BBC not fallen short, the claimant and her family could have been spared 25 years of lies, suspicion and upset.’

Jonathan Scherbel-Ball of lawyers 5RB on behalf of the BBC told the court: ‘The BBC accepts that the allegations were wholly baseless, should never have been made, and that the BBC did not, at the time, adequately investigate serious concerns over the circumstances in which the BBC secured the Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales…

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‘The BBC is extremely sorry for the serious and prolonged harm caused to (Mrs Pettifer) and the historical investigative shortcoming.

‘It is pleased that the parties have been able to resolve these issues amicably by joining in this statement in open court and by the BBC paying her substantial compensation and legal costs.’

Tiggy Legge-Bourke: BBC apologises to Prince William and Prince Harry's former nanny 3

Tiggy Legge-Bourke with William, Harry and Charles at Zurich Airport in February 1994

Prince William has previously vowed to continue his battle to uncover ‘the truth’ about how his mother came to be duped by Martin Bashir (pictured)

Prince William has previously vowed to continue his battle to uncover ‘the truth’ about how his mother came to be duped by Martin Bashir (pictured)

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William criticised the BBC in 2020 for its failings around his mother's Panorama interview which exacerbated her 'fear, paranoia and isolation'

William criticised the BBC in 2020 for its failings around his mother’s Panorama interview which exacerbated her ‘fear, paranoia and isolation’ 

BBC boss Tim Davie today issued a grovelling apology as the broadcaster agreed to pay damages

BBC boss Tim Davie today issued a grovelling apology as the broadcaster agreed to pay damages

Who else has the BBC paid out to over the Martin Bashir scandal? 

A charity of the Royal Family’s choice

Last year the BBC agreed to pay £1.15million pound to a charity of the Royal Family’s choice over the Bashir scandal.

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The figure was equal to the amount of money the corporation made by selling the global rights.

The BBC agreed to make the donation after the Dyson Inquiry found the BBC ‘fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency of its handling of Bashir’.

Matt Weissler

A graphic designer who said in 1996 that Bashir had asked him to forge bank documents to help earn Diana’s trust.

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But rather than being met with respect, his career was turned upside down by BBC bosses, who blacklisted him from work with the corporation.

It took until November 2020 for an inquiry to be established based on the Mail on Sunday’s reporting.

The BBC last year agreed a £750,000 payout for Weissler. 

Patrick Jephson

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Princess Diana’s former private secretary has received ‘substantial’ damages over the scandal. 

The corporation also apologised ‘unreservedly’ to Mr Jephson.

Bashir commissioned forged bank statements purporting to show how payments were made into the account of Jephson from intelligence services monitoring Diana’s movements.

The documents were used to convince Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, into introducing Bashir to the princess and later convince her into an interview. 

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Mr Jephson said it was ‘a relief’ to ‘finally to reach a conclusion to this painful episode’ and added he will donate the money, believed to be around £100,000, to a children’s hospice.

Alan Waller 

Earl Spencer’s former head of security, Alan Waller, whose bank statements were also forged on the orders of Bashir, had claimed he should get a payout. He said his named had been ‘repeatedly dragged through the mud’ by Bashir.

But last year he told The Telegraph the BBC was not engaging in ‘any meaningful way’ over his £500,000 compensation claim.  

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As well as false smears that she had an affair with Charles, it was also alleged that the Princess of Wales was tricked into granting her Panorama interview after Mr Bashir showed her a faked abortion ‘receipt’ for the nanny.

Diana was said to have become convinced that the nanny had become pregnant by Charles and allegedly confronted her at a Christmas party, where she acidly remarked: ‘So sorry to hear about the baby.’

It was previously reported that Miss Legge-Bourke could be set for a financial settlement in line with that received by graphic artist Matt Wiessler.

Insiders believe that such was the scale of Bashir’s slurs about Miss Legge-Bourke Mr Wiessler, who was blacklisted after he raised concerns about Bashir’s conduct on the 1995 interview, is thought to have received £500,000 as part of his agreement with the BBC.

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The artist had been asked by Bashir to mock up false bank statements.

Elsewhere, earlier this year the BBC paid Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson £100,000. 

Commander Jephson donated in full his financial settlement from the BBC to charity, with money going to a children’s hospice. 

Bashir was said to have used fake bank statements which appeared to show he had received payments from the intelligence services.

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The BBC also reportedly paid more than £1.5million to a charity selected by the Royal Family after the fallout from a report by Lord Dyson into the scandal.

BBC director-general Tim Davie 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.

‘The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise 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.

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‘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.

‘Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again; nor will we licence it in whole or part to other broadcasters.

‘It does of course remain part of the historical record and 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.’

In a blistering attack last year, Prince William damned the corporation for deceiving his mother, ruining her life and helping to hasten her divorce.

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He said the BBC’s failures had contributed to Diana’s ‘fear, paranoia and isolation’ in her final years, and that the infamous 1995 Panorama interview made a ‘major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse’.

He said: ‘It is my firm view that this Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again. It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised by the BBC and others.

‘This settled narrative now needs to be addressed by the BBC and anyone else who has written or intends to write about these events.

‘In an era of fake news, public service broadcasting and a free press have never been more important.

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‘These failings, identified by investigative journalists, not only let my mother down, and my family down; they let the public down too.’

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