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Tapes of Princess Diana discussing her failed marriage to air next month

Channel 4 has planned the broadcast for next month – but those who were close to Diana say the tapes will cause distress.

Image: Martin Hayhow via AP Photo

BRITISH TV STATION Channel 4 is to broadcast a new documentary on Princess Diana, which has led to family members and experts to question the public interest in doing so.

The documentary will use tapes in which Diana candidly discussed her marital problems and her strained relationship with the royal family.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Diana’s brother Earl Spencer told Channel 4 that broadcasting the tapes would cause distress to Diana’s sons William and Harry.

The recordings of Diana talking to her public speaking coach, Peter Settelen, in the early 1990s included her description of how Queen Elizabeth II reacted when she asked the monarch for advice about her failing marriage with Prince Charles.

“So I went to the top lady, sobbing. And I said ‘What do I do? I’m coming to you, what do I do?’ And she said ‘I don’t know what you should do’,” Diana said. “And that was it. And that was help.”

Penny Junor – who penned the book ‘Charles: Victim or villain?’ - told Sky News she could not see “any justification” for broadcasting the tapes.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death in a Paris car crash on 31 August 1997, which was followed by an outpouring of grief.

Princess Diana Channel 4 documentary Source: PA Images

Diana and Charles married in 1981 and divorced in 1996 after having two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

The tapes include her discussing Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, whom Charles later married in 2005.

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The recordings also show Diana talking about falling “deeply in love” with a man widely believed to be her protection officer, Barry Mannakee, as well as Charles’ attempts to woo her during a barbeque in 1979 when she was 18.

Police held some of the videotapes after they were seized in ex-royal butler Paul Burrell’s home in 2001. Diana’s family tried to make a legal claim to the recordings, but they were returned to Settelen in 2004.

Excerpts of the recordings were aired in the US in 2004 but they have never been screened in Britain.

The documentary airs next Sunday 6 August on Channel 4.

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

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