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Princess Diana's former private secretary receives 'substantial' damages over Martin Bashir's claims

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Princess Diana's former private secretary receives 'substantial' damages over Martin Bashir's claims

Princess Diana's former private secretary admitted it is still "very hard to process" the fact she died falsely thinking he had "betrayed" her.

The BBC have awarded Commander Patrick Jepson a "substantial sum" of damages and apologised unreserevedly after an investigation showed Martin Bashir had shown the princess false bank statements suggesting he was being paid to work against her in a bid to land his infamous tell-all 'Panorama' interview.

And Commander Jephson has now spoken of his "relief" that he finally understands why his relationship with her former boss - who died in a car accident in 1997 - abruptly changed, with relations between them becoming so frosty, he felt he had to resign.

He told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “The Princess died thinking I had betrayed her after eight rewarding but often difficult years in which we had worked so closely. To suddenly discover what had happened – that it wasn’t a misunderstanding but a calculated, cold-blooded act of deception – is still very hard to process.

“I’ve thought for 25 years, what went wrong? Why did that relationship suddenly turn to ashes with all that meant for my life?

“Because I now know what Bashir did, I am able to put a date on when the relationship changed; it disintegrated over the next four months and eventually I felt I had to resign. I had a young family and it was a tough time.”

The former Royal Navy officer - who only found out about the fake bank statements last year - is donating his compensation to the Ty Hafan children's hospice in Penarth, Wales, and explained he chose the charity because of its significance to his relationship with Diana.

He said: “Ty Hafan was the last patronage I helped to organise for the Princess. We arranged a concert with Luciano Pavarotti to raise money to build the Hospice, but Diana died before construction was finished.

“Having thought about it very hard, I realised that money couldn’t reverse the harm done, but giving my award to Ty Hafan feels right. It changes something bad into something good and that’s a blessing.”

The BBC issued an apology to Patrick on Thursday (17.03.22).

They said in a statement: "The BBC accepts and acknowledges that serious harm was caused to Commander Jephson as a result of the circumstances in which the 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, was obtained, which have become apparent as a result of the Dyson Report.

“The BBC apologises unreservedly to Commander Jephson for the harm caused to him and has paid his legal costs. The BBC has also paid Commander Jephson a substantial sum in damages, which he intends to donate in full to British charities nominated by him.”

Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, described the settlement as "the right result".

He tweeted: “Appalling what Patrick Jephson had to go through as a result of grotesque ‘journalism’. Also terrible that it was covered up for so long by senior people at the @BBCNews – there will be more to come out on all this, before long.”

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