BBC has to pay ‘significant’ damages to William and Harry’s former nanny

The former nanny of Princes William and Harry has been awarded substantial damages by the BBC over “false and malicious” allegations used to obtain Martin Bashir’s 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lexandra Pettifer, formerly known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, appeared before the High Court in London for a public apology from the channel over “fabricated” allegations that she had an affair with the Prince of Wales while working as Charles’ personal assistant in 1995 .

Her attorney, Louise Prince, told the court the allegations had “serious personal consequences for everyone involved.”

Alongside allegations of the affair, the court was told that Ms Legge-Bourke was falsely accused of having become pregnant with Charles’ baby and having performed an abortion.

Ms Prince said Ms Legge-Bourke had not known the source of the allegations for the past 25 years but that it was now likely that the “false and malicious allegations were made as a result of and in connection with the BBC Panorama’s efforts to obtain, an exclusive interview with Diana, Princess of Wales was created.

The court was told that the Dyson investigation commissioned by the broadcaster had “shed some light” on how the interview was secured.

The lawyer said the “completely unfounded” allegations “appeared to exploit some previous false speculation in the media” about Charles and Mrs Legge-Bourke, whose duties at the time were looking after William and his brother Harry, the Duke of Sussex To take care of.

“Once Diana, Princess of Wales became aware of the allegations in late 1995, she was upset with the plaintiff for no apparent reason,” she added.

Ms Prince said Ms Legge-Bourke “holds the BBC liable for the serious repercussions of the false and malicious allegations.

“Had it not been for the BBC, the plaintiff and her family could have been spared 25 years of lies, suspicion and excitement.”

After the hearing, BBC director-general Tim Davie said the broadcaster would “never show the program again” or license it to other broadcasters, and apologized to Ms Legge-Bourke, Charles, William and Harry for how Diana was “deceived”.

At Thursday’s brief hearing, Judge Justice Nicklin heard Earl Spencer – Diana’s brother – was told in September 1995 that Charles was in love with Ms Legge-Bourke and that they had shared a secret holiday together.

The court was also told that in October 1995 the BBC was at a “critical juncture” in negotiations with Diana over her appearance on the BBC Panorama, while she was telling her solicitor that Ms Legge-Bourke had had an abortion.

Ms Prince continued: “In October 1995, Diana, Princess of Wales wrote about allegations that she might be the victim of an accident so that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales could marry the applicant.”

In December 1995, Diana publicly confronted Ms Legge-Bourke about the abortion allegation before telling a senior member of the royal household that she had a hospital letter proving the abortion had taken place.

Ms Prince said: “As the allegation of an abortion was completely false, such a letter could only have been fabricated.”

She continued: “The plaintiff was extremely upset and confused by these events.

“She felt she had to prove to others that the allegations were completely false by disclosing highly sensitive matters, including private medical information.

“Unfortunately, even when incontrovertible evidence was presented, Diana, Princess of Wales, could not be persuaded.”

The lawyer said the allegations had been repeated in the press for the past 25 years, although many reports cast doubt on them.

She continued, “Nevertheless, to this day, she and her family face suspicion and disbelief.

After the hearing, Ms Legge-Bourke said she was “disappointed” legal action was needed.

She continued: “Sadly, I am one of many people whose lives have been scarred by the fraudulent way in which the BBC Panorama was created and the BBC’s subsequent failure to properly investigate the genesis of the programme.

“The hardship inflicted on the royal family is a source of great irritation to me. I know firsthand how deeply affected they were at the time, and how the program and the false narrative it created have haunted the family in the years since.

“Especially because so much about the genesis of the program has not yet been adequately explained.”

Jonathan Scherbel-Ball, representing the BBC in court, said the broadcaster “extremely regrets the serious and enduring harm inflicted on the plaintiff and the historical flaws in the investigation”.

He also said: “The BBC accepts that the allegations made against the plaintiff were totally unfounded, should never have been made and that the BBC did not, at this time, appropriately have serious concerns about the circumstances in which the BBC secured the panorama Interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

“Had it done so, the BBC accepts that it may have resulted in these incorrect statements being addressed and corrected much sooner and it may have reduced the harm done to the plaintiff and her family over many years. “

A spokesman for the Duke of Cambridge declined to comment. BBC has to pay ‘significant’ damages to William and Harry’s former nanny

Fry Electronics Team

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