The false claims in Earl Spencer's scribbled notes from Bashir meeting

‘Queen eats for comfort, Edward has AIDS, Camilla is depressed, Charles is in love with the Nanny’: How Earl Spencer’s scribbled notes from first meeting between Princess Diana and Martin Bashir became key evidence in Panorama probe

  • Earl Spencer kept meticulous notes of meeting with Bashir and Diana in 1995
  • His dossier includes false claims journalist allegedly used to land the interview 
  • Notes were handed to Lord Dyson’s inquiry, which will report back at 2pm today 

A jaw-dropping list of smears and lies allegedly peddled by Martin Bashir to clinch his sensational Princess Diana scoop was recorded by her brother – including the Queen ‘eating for comfort’ and Charles being in love with the family nanny.

Earl Spencer kept meticulous notes of a meeting held on September 19, 1995, when he introduced the BBC man to his sister at her Knightsbridge flat. 

His devastating dossier was handed to Lord Dyson for his inquiry into the case, which is set to report at 2pm today. It includes preposterous falsehoods about the royals and senior courtiers that he is said to have used to help land the interview. 

Earl Spencer’s records show that Bashir allegedly claimed that Diana’s private letters were being opened, her car tracked and phoned tapped with her bodyguard plotting against her, and close friends were betraying her.

Earl Spencer’s handwritten log of the meeting with Bashir at his sister’s flat in Knightsbridge also includes a note saying: ‘Camilla: depressed, but quiet for time being’. 

In an execrable reference to Prince Edward, Spencer recorded Bashir as saying that the Queen’s youngest son was receiving treatment for Aids at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. Even the Queen was mentioned. Spencer noted Bashir as saying she was ‘very ill with heart problems’ and that she was a ‘comfort eater’.  


Earl Spencer (left) kept detailed notes when he met Martin Bashir (seen right holding a Bafta award for his Diana interview) when he met the BBC journalist with Diana at his sister’s flat 

Bashir is accused of effectively grooming the vulnerable princess by playing to her worst fears. Pictured is a still from the 1995 interview 

From officials bugging Diana’s car to warnings her reputation would be ‘destroyed’: Earl Spencer’s handwritten scraps that could shred Bashir’s career 

1: Diana’s ‘scum’ former bodyguard 

Bashir’s opening gambit that three MI6 agents had told him Prince Charles’s private secretary Richard Aylard was ‘orchestrating’ things surrounding Diana. This involved Ken Wharfe, Diana’s former bodyguard, described as ‘scum’.

Diana was already paranoid her staff and friends were betraying her and, at the meeting, the broadcaster allegedly brandished bank statements purportedly showing her closest aides were selling her secrets. 

2: Charles’ secretary ‘paid by Jonathan Dimbleby’ 

Aylard, it was claimed, had been paid by the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby. A decision to reinvent the prince had been taken by aides two years earlier. A year later this allegedly included attacking both Diana and the Spencer family.

3: Charles ‘discussing ”end game”’

The notes, handed to Lord Dyson, include allegations MI6 had recorded Prince Charles and his private secretary planning the ‘end game’ – an extraordinary and false hint the heir to the throne was plotting to ‘destroy’ the Spencers and force them to flee to the US. 

Charles Spencer’s detailed notes, from one to five. The manila file contains notes of every meeting he had with Bashir, the logs of phone calls the BBC man made along with the faxes, the letters and even the gushing thank you cards that the reporter sent him

4: Spencers’ reputation ‘would be destroyed’ 

Spencers’ reputation to be destroyed. In another remark recorded by Earl Spencer, Bashir claimed Prince Charles wanted Spencer’s then wife, Victoria, dead. Diana meanwhile would be forced to move to America — possibly with her brother.

5: Will Carling affair claim

his relates to the stories during 1995 of the close friendship between Diana and the married England rugby captain Will Carling. Spencer notes Bashir’s assertion that the newspaper stories had been ‘fed’ by Carling’s wife Julia.

9: Diana’s car ‘bugged’

This note describes Bashir’s alleged claim that Diana had been bugged by officials 

The claim that Diana’s cars and phone lines being bugged and her post intercepted would have increased her worries she was being spied on. 

Bashir told Lord Dyson he would not have made these claims at a first meeting, the Telegraph reported.

17: Camilla ‘depressed’

Camilla was allegedly described by Bashir as ‘depressed, but quiet for the time being’. The second line refers to William and Harry’s nanny, Tiggy Legge-Bourke

In the interview, Diana made her feelings clear on Camilla, famously saying, ‘There are three of us in this marriage.’ 

Mentioning her could have been an attempt by Bashir to prompt her to speak out.

‘Tiggy’ is a reference to Tiggy Legge-Bourke, William and Harry’s nanny who Charles was accused of having an affair with in claims that were subsequently dismissed. 

17b: Philip’s ‘v unpleasant correspondence’

Earl Spencer recorded Bashir as describing ‘very unpleasant correspondence’ allegedly sent by Prince Philip to Diana and Sarah Ferguson

This claims Diana had received ‘v unpleasant correspondence’ from Philip and suggests he was annoyed at her ‘hero status’. 

It also references Edwina Mountbatten, the wife of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was known to have had affairs.

19: Fergie’s business deals in the US

Another reference to Sarah Ferguson, this time describing her trips to the US to try and forge a business career 

Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew divorced in 1996. This note refers to her numerous trips to the US to forge a business career.

It adds that Andrew still ‘look[ed] after her’ following their divorce by supporting her financially.

20: ‘Queen eats for comfort’  

This note suggests the Queen was unwell, stating ‘Queen ill: heart’ and adds she ‘eats for comfort’.

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