Between 1992 and 1993, Diana, Princess of Wales was recorded in a series of tapes by Peter Settelen who was her voice coach. Channel 4 have used these clips in order to create a new documentary ‘Diana: in her own words’. Despite pleas from Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, for Channel 4 to cancel the airing of the footage in order to show respect to the Princes William and Harry and to Diana’s memory, the tapes will be aired on the 6th August.
The 31st August will mark the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. As this date draws closer, the media has been filled with images and stories about her. The Princes William and Harry have had to grow up surrounded by images of a mother they miss deeply, but this time it is believed by some that this documentary is taking things too far and includes details that should be kept private. Penny Juror a royal biographer has expressed the opinion that airing the tapes is a very bad idea and another way of exploiting Diana.
The collection of twenty tapes were taken from the home of Paul Burrell, a former royal butler in 2001 and there have been legal battles over the ownership of them ever since. In 2004 the tapes were sold to the American NBC network but until now, the clips have remained unseen by the UK public.
Talking to Radio Times, Ralph Lee of Channel 4 defended the decision to air the footage; he stated that Diana is clearly aware that she is being interviewed in the tapes and that the public see this type of interview in documentaries all of the time. Channel 4 believe that since Diana, Princess of Wales was and still is such an important public figure, people should have access to this significant historical footage.
The documentary; Diana: In her own words is due to air on Channel 4 on 6th August at 8pm.