Un­seen tapes of Princess Di aired

To co­in­cide with the 20th an­niver­sary of her death

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - DAILY MAIL

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL tapes of Princess Diana’s elo­cu­tion lessons are to be shown on a Bri­tish chan­nel, 10 years af­ter the BBC shelved plans to broad­cast them for fear of up­set­ting the royal fam­ily.

In the un­seen videos, recorded by voice coach Peter Set­te­len, Diana speaks can­didly about her up­bring­ing, trou­bled mar­riage and her pub­lic life.

The clips have been the source of con­sid­er­able an­guish for her fam­ily, who lost a lengthy dis­pute to seize con­trol of them be­tween 2001 and 2004.

Such was the con­tin­ued con­tro­versy that in 2007 the BBC scrapped a £100 000 (R1.7 mil­lion) doc­u­men­tary fea­tur­ing them, fol­low­ing crit­i­cism that broad­cast­ing the tapes would be bad taste and “ghoul­ish”.

Chan­nel 4 has an­nounced that it will air Diana: In Her Own Words next month, weeks be­fore the 20th an­niver­sary of the princess’s death.

While the chan­nel’s Ralph Lee in­sists the doc­u­men­tary will be an “im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the his­tor­i­cal record”, the de­ci­sion to broad­cast the clips risks a fresh row with Diana’s fam­ily.

The pri­vate coach­ing ses­sions be­tween Set­te­len and the princess took place in 1992 and 1993 in Kens­ing­ton Palace to help her with pub­lic speak­ing, a few years be­fore her now-in­fa­mous Panorama in­ter­view.

It is un­der­stood that seven of the 16 videos that Set­te­len recorded were seized by Scot­land Yard in 2001 dur­ing a raid on the home of Diana’s for­mer but­ler, Paul Bur­rell.

The con­tent of the tapes was re­garded as so sen­si­tive that the prose­cu­tion agreed not to use them in Bur­rell’s trial – he was ac­cused of steal­ing items be­long­ing to Diana, but the case col­lapsed in the Old Bai­ley Court in 2002.

The tapes were sold to US broad­caster NBC for an undis­closed sum and ex­cerpts were broad­cast in 2004. The BBC paid £30 000 for three min­utes’ footage.

The clips may in­clude those aired by NBC, in which she told of run­ning to Queen El­iz­a­beth af­ter she be­came con­vinced that Charles had re­sumed his ro­mance with Camilla Parker Bowles.

Other ad­mis­sions in­cluded how she was deeply in love with a royal pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer, pre­sumed to be Barry Man­na­kee.

He was killed in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent and Diana said she be­lieved he was “bumped off” be­cause of their af­fair.

Chan­nel 4 has con­firmed that it is us­ing dou­ble the amount of footage that the BBC bought.

Said Lee: “The tapes, which show a re­laxed and off-duty Diana, are hugely il­lu­mi­nat­ing about her per­son­al­ity, humour and charm.

“Com­bined with his­tor­i­cal con­text and in­ter­views with her clos­est con­fi­dants, this film pro­vides a nu­anced, multi-lay­ered por­trait.

“This film gives Diana a voice and places it front and cen­tre at a time when the na­tion will be re­flect­ing on her life and death. It is her ac­count of events both pri­vate and pub­lic and is an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the his­tor­i­cal record.”

The doc­u­men­tary will also in­clude in­ter­views with Diana’s long-term friend Dr James Colthurst and her bal­let teacher Anne Al­lan, nei­ther of whom has ever spo­ken on the record.

PIC­TURE: JIM MCLAGAN

THE PEO­PLE’S PRINCESS: Princess Diana with chil­dren at a Red Cross feed­ing scheme in Zim­babwe in July 1993.

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