It is the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death on August 31, and the world is already awash with headlines and documentaries about her life.
Next Sunday, Channel 4 is set to air Diana: In Her Own Words.
The 90-minute programme features footage previously unaired in the UK, with Diana speaking extremely candidly about the trials and tribulations of her life after meeting Charles.
The footage was shot by Diana’s speech coach, Peter Settelen, between 1992 and 1993.
He has chosen not to appear in the documentary, which is already causing controversy before it screens.
Explaining why Settelen has passed on the tapes, his solicitor stated: “For the past 15 years Peter has been reluctant to show the tapes.
“But now, coming up to the 20th anniversary, with everyone, including her own children, discussing Diana and revisiting her life, he wants Diana to be able to speak for herself. It’s about giving her a voice.”
The Mail is reporting that Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, contacted Channel 4 to ask them not to air the film, for fear of the distress it could cause her sons.
It has been publicly condemned by Diana’s close friend Rosa Monckton, who has said: “I think it’s completely inappropriate that they are being shown publicly.
“The tapes should have been sent to the boys. They should definitely have been sent to her sons.
“I just think it is absolutely disgusting.”
Royal biographer Penny Junor has also slammed it.
“This is just another way of exploiting Diana,” she has said. “It’s not what Charles would want and it’s clearly not what the boys would want. It will be deeply hurtful to them.
“It seems to me a very bad idea to broadcast these tapes, especially at this difficult time for the family.”
At the time of publishing, Channel 4 has not backed down on its plans to broadcast.
A spokesperson said: “The excerpts from the tapes … are an important historical source.
“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, which culminated in her later interview for Panorama.”