Diana: In Her Own Words
as C4 screens a rare interview with the Princess of Wales, TV Times talks to two of her confidantes
Sunday / C4
As the 20th anniversary of her death approaches, this new documentary includes previously unseen tapes made by Diana’s speech coach Peter Settelen.
Diana: In Her Own Words
Sunday / C4 / 8.00Pm
Diana, Princess of Wales, caused a storm when, in her infamous 1995 Panorama interview, she discussed her husband Prince Charles’s affair with Camilla Parkerbowles, her own bulimia and her infatuation with James Hewitt.
Twenty years after her death in a car crash in Paris, C4’s new documentary, Diana: In Her Own Words, has gained access to another filmed interview, previously unseen, in which a much more informal Diana shares more thoughts on some of the most private aspects of her life.
Recorded during sessions with her speech coach, Peter Settelen, in the early 1990s, the video footage sees Diana reflecting on subjects such as Charles’s fumbling courtship, the royal couple’s sex life, Camilla’s influence on their marriage, her depression and her close relationship with bodyguard Barry Mannakee.
‘Given that the only filmed interview we’ve ever seen with Diana is Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview, this is a unique piece of historical archive,’ explains
C4’s Head of Factual, Ralph Lee. ‘For the first time viewers will feel that they’re seeing a natural, relaxed and personal Diana.’
The documentary also uses archive footage to tell Diana’s story, from her engagement to Charles and their fairy-tale wedding in 1981 to the couple’s divorce and Diana’s tragic death in 1997.
There’s also testimony from two men who worked closely with the Princess – personal protection officer Ken Wharfe and private secretary Patrick Jephson. TV Times sat down with them to find out more…
‘The tapes show her spontaneity and sense of fun,’ says Patrick, who worked for the Princess of Wales from 1988 until 1996. ‘Diana was a wonderfully inspirational boss. Even when things were tough she saw a silver lining.’
Patrick tells us he was impressed by her authenticity and her strength: ‘What was underestimated then and now is Diana’s strength as a person,’ he says. ‘She had a backbone of steel! If you pushed her into a corner, or made her feel she’d been unjustly treated, there was a defiance in her. It was sometimes reckless, but it wasn’t manufactured, it was real.’
Much of the film focuses on Charles’s relationship with Camilla, which Diana famously described by saying, ‘there were three of us in this marriage’.
Ken Wharfe recalls how impressed he was that, despite all the marital problems, Diana was determined to make a go of things.
‘When I came to work for Diana in 1986, I heard about the problems in the marriage, and that shocked me,’ he says. ‘Yet she continued in the belief that things would work out – though of course they didn’t.’
Ken also recalls being concerned when Diana told him that her voice coach was filming their sessions.
‘In 1993 Diana told me joyously: ‘“I’ve got a voice coach, Ken!” My reaction was: “You don’t need to one – you’ve a great voice anyway!”
‘She told me he was making a video of it and alarm bells went off. Who has access to these tapes and where might they end up?’ Now that the tapes are in the public domain, Ken and Patrick believe they stand as testament to the way in which Princess Diana changed the British monarchy.
‘Who would have thought that the Queen would have taken part in a spoof with Daniel Craig for the London Olympics?’ says Ken. ‘It’s extraordinary and really bought the Royal Family forward, which is what Diana did in the 1980s and 1990s. But she didn’t get much credit for it – in fact, there was a lot of jealousy.’
Patrick adds that the pioneering charity work Diana started is being carried on by William and Harry.
‘As an outsider herself, she had a natural affinity with other outsiders,’ he says. ‘The causes that she supported were not traditional mainstream royal causes – addiction, mental illness, leprosy, domestic violence…
‘I was with her in New York in 1989 when she picked up a little baby dying of AIDS in hospital. That was daring and ground-breaking. If she were still alive today, she’d still be surprising people!’
She had a backbone of steel
Private Secretary Patrick Jephson
The new tapes shed more light on Diana’s private life
Diana gives her infamous 1995 Panorama interview
Protection officer Ken Wharfe by Diana’s side
Princess Diana with Patrick Jephson