Grow­ing fury over Diana tapes

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

CHAN­NEL 4 has been ac­cused of pay­ing “blood money” for “deeply per­sonal” tapes of Princess Diana.

The queen’s for­mer press sec­re­tary, Dickie Ar­biter, said Diana had no idea the tapes would ever be made pub­lic, and that the con­tent would be in­cred­i­bly hurt­ful for her fam­ily.

His sear­ing crit­i­cism came af­ter it emerged that Diana’s brother, Charles, the Earl Spencer, had tried to stop the Chan­nel 4 doc­u­men­tary, which will be aired this Sun­day, from go­ing ahead.

The footage, filmed by Diana’s for­mer voice coach Peter Set­te­len, was pur­chased by Chan­nel 4 af­ter the BBC de­cided to shelve a doc­u­men­tary about the same videos.

Al­though they have ap­peared in the US, next week will be the first time the con­tro­ver­sial footage will be viewed by a Bri­tish au­di­ence. Ar­biter on Sun­day blasted Set­te­len for sell­ing the tapes.

“It is ab­so­lutely shame­ful th­ese tapes have been made avail­able. It seems that there is sort of grubby blood money run­ning around,” he told Sky News.

“Whether th­ese tapes are re­veal­ing or not they were recorded in pri­vate on the un­der­stand­ing they would re­main pri­vate and… Set­te­len should have thought be­fore giv­ing them to Chan­nel 4.

“Chan­nel 4 should re­ally think deeply, not about… their rat­ings fig­ures but about the peo­ple and fam­ily who are still around who will find this very hurt­ful.”

Royal bi­og­ra­pher Penny Junor also ac­cused Chan­nel 4 and Set­te­len, a for­mer Coro­na­tion Street ac­tor, of “pruri­ent money mak­ing”. “Diana had no idea they would ever be broad­cast,” she said.

“They are deeply per­sonal, they will be ex­tremely hu­mil­i­at­ing to the Prince of Wales, hurt­ful to Wil­liam and Harry and Diana’s sis­ters and brother. I sim­ply can­not un­der­stand the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. It’s purely pruri­ent money mak­ing.”

Chan­nel 4 has de­fended its de­ci­sion to show the tapes, call­ing them an “im­por­tant his­tor­i­cal source”.

In the videos, Diana talks can­didly about top­ics in­clud­ing Prince Charles’s af­fair and the queen al­legedly say­ing her son was “hope­less”. She also claims that at first Charles was “all over me like a bad rash”, with the cou­ple hav­ing sex “once ev­ery three weeks”, but ul­ti­mately their in­ti­macy “fiz­zled out”.

The princess said that when she asked the queen for ad­vice about Charles, she replied: “I don’t know what you should do. Charles is hope­less.”

Spencer un­suc­cess­fully tried to stop the doc­u­men­tary, ac­cord­ing to the Mail on Sun­day, and Chan­nel 4 con­firmed it had ex­changed cor­re­spon­dence with him. Rosa Mon­ck­ton, one of Diana’s clos­est friends, told the news­pa­per: “Think of the hurt they are caus­ing to her fam­ily… It is ab­so­lutely dis­gust­ing.”

Set­te­len, 65, holds the copy­right to the tapes, which were re­turned to him fol­low­ing a bit­ter le­gal row with the Spencers. They fea­tured in a doc­u­men­tary made by NBC in 2004 but un­til now have not been shown on UK tele­vi­sion.

Chan­nel 4 said: “We care­fully con­sid­ered all the ma­te­rial used in the doc­u­men­tary and, though the record­ings were made in pri­vate, the sub­jects cov­ered are a mat­ter of pub­lic record and pro­vide a unique in­sight into the prepa­ra­tions Diana un­der­took to gain a pub­lic voice and tell her own per­sonal story.” – Daily Mail

DOC­U­MEN­TARY DI-LEMMA: Diana in 1997.

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