Remembering the Peoples’ Princess
TV programming, books mark 20th anniversary of Diana’s death
Two decades after her death, Princess Diana’s charisma endures.
So does the tragic story of the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry. Diana was just 36 when she died after the car she was riding in crashed in a Paris tunnel on Aug. 31, 1997. But before her death — and after splitting with Prince Charles — she was still turning heads and attracting headlines. So it comes as no surprise that on the 20th anniversary, everyone is finding a way to remember her.
Publishers are bringing out new books about her, or reissuing old ones.
Here are some upcoming commemorations of the celebrity princess:
July 31: Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason? (TLC, 8 p.m.)
Diana biographer Andrew Morton is just one of the figures interviewed in this 3-hour special that looks at the conspiracy theories surrounding the fatal car crash in Paris. Actor and conspiracy theorist Richard Belzer discusses the speculation about what happened the night Diana died.
Aug. 9-10: The Story of Diana (ABC, 9 p.m.)
ABC and People magazine team for this two-night special featuring what’s billed as an exclusive U.S. interview with Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother Charles. He will share stories about his older sister with home-movie footage. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson is among friends of Diana appearing in the special.
Aug. 22: Diana — Her Story (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings)
PBS says this new documentary offers historical context as it tells the story of Diana’s life through interviews with individuals who were close to the princess, including confidant James Colthurst, ballet teacher Anne Allan, private secretary Patrick Jephson and Wharfe. The documentary reveals a naive teen who eventually transformed into one of the most popular members of the Royal Family.
Aug. 27: Diana and the Paparazzi (Smithsonian, 8 p.m.)
Viewers get a look through the lens at the princess and her attempts to manage the constant mob of photographers who followed her everywhere, contrasted with her desire to draw interest to the humanitarian causes that she felt were important.
This special includes interviews with paparazzi who were present during her fatal car crash.
Diana: The Day We Said Goodbye (Smithsonian, 9 p.m.)
Another special puts the spotlight on the funeral for the princess. Narrated by Kate Winslet, this special includes the voices of guardsmen, reporters, pallbearers and others who share their experiences on that day, when London shut down, millions filled the streets and the U.K. mourned at a royal funeral service at Westminster Abbey. secretary — her closest aide — during her years of deepest personal crisis. His description of what he saw and heard is said to be the most authoritative and balanced account of the royal life of a famously tragic royal.
“Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words” by Andrew Morton. The 1992 book that blew the lid off the long-simmering story of the breakdown of the marriage of Charles and Diana. Simon & Schuster has released a revised version of the book, which sold more than one million copies, with new material that Morton recorded with Diana.
“Diana: The People’s Princess: A Celebration of Her Life and Legacy 20 Years On, by Nicholas Owen.” First published in 1997, this updated edition from U.K. publisher Carlton Shing G is a tribute biography that includes new material about Diana’s legacy as a mother, as her sons continue her humanitarian work.
“Diana: A Closely Guarded Secret by Ken Wharfe and Robert Jobson.” Another reissue, from U.K. publisher John Blake. Wharfe, Diana’s royal bodyguard, and Jobson, a longtime British royals correspondent, teamed up on this first memoir by a royal protection officer, who became Diana’s close friend and confidant during his seven years as her bodyguard.
“Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life,” by Sally Bedell Smith. Smith is the acclaimed royal biographer whose books on the queen and on Diana (Diana in Search of Herself ) were bestsellers. In her new Charles bio (published in April), Smith manages to suss out new details of their marital discord: Among them, she reports, during their many blazing arguments, when Charles knelt down at night to say his prayers, Diana would keep the fight going by hitting him on the head and continuing to shout at him.
“Lady Diana a Free Spirit” at the Reggio di Venaria, Turin, northern Italy, remembers Princess Diana 20 years after her death in a car accident in Paris. The exhibition runs to Aug. 28.
MARIA PUENTE AND LORENA BLAS Photo from Diana’s personal photo album shows the princess holding Prince William while pregnant with Prince Harry.
Photo from Diana’s personal photo album shows the princess and Prince Harry on holiday.