Prince Charles recorded a second version of his 1994 interview after being convinced to admit to adultery in his marriage with Diana, Princess of Wales – a move that pushed her to do her own interview with Panorama a year later.
In a new documentary exploring the origins of Diana’s dramatic Panorama interview, it was revealed that Charles did not initially intend to confess to his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.
But he was later convinced that he should do so, as it would come out in a “sympathetic” way.
Charles, now 71, confessed to infidelity in an interview with his biographer Jonathan Dimbleby, saying he only strayed when the marriage had “broken down irrevocably”.
Speaking to Channel 4, Sir Max Hastings, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, said: “Somebody convinced him, ‘Look sir, this is going to come out sooner or later, wouldn’t it be better if it comes out in a sympathetic form, in sympathetic hands.’
“And he fell for it.”
The original interview was filmed in Windsor, after which more talks were held between the TV producers and Charles’s aides, and the prince then made his confession in a new film made at Highgrove.
Watch: Diana and Charles’ former chef talks press intrusion
The 1994 interview led to Diana feeling she wanted to do something herself, the new documentary claims.
Letters that went to auction earlier this year revealed Charles felt his interview was “living dangerously”.
The new documentary, which is being aired on Channel 4 on Wednesday night, will also explore whether Diana regretted her interview, which is said to have led to the Queen deciding she and Charles had to divorce.
Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson quit his role soon after the interview came out, and said she “deeply regretted” it.
However her friend, royal biographer Ingrid Seward, says she didn’t regret all of it.
In the Daily Telegraph, Seward said: “She told me she regretted talking about James Hewitt because she thought it had hurt her sons.
“But she was glad she had spoken about her bulimia, she added, because she’d received a flood of letters from other people with eating disorders and felt it had done some good.
“But she did not regret the interview as a whole.”
Diana’s interview remains one of the most-watched television events of all time, and is when she made her famous statement “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was quite crowded”.
The documentary explores how the BBC managed to convince Diana to speak, and how she feared she was being spied on, convinced her apartment in Kensington Palace was bugged.
Diana: The Truth Behind The Interview airs on Channel 4 on 21 October at 9pm.