Princess Diana documentary faces backlash over airing of private tapes about Diana’s marriage

Personal tapes recorded by Princess Diana with her voice coach, Peter Settelen, in 1992 will be aired for the first time in the U.K. in a new documentary.

“Diana: In Her Own Words” — scheduled to air on Aug. 6 on Channel 4 in the U.K. and on PBS in the U.S. — is facing objections from some of Diana’s various friends and former employees who claim the tapes violate Diana’s privacy and were never meant to be aired.

The recordings, which were meant for Diana to watch and work on her public speaking, include Diana’s intimate thoughts on her marriage to Prince Charles, which ended in divorce in 1996, her two sons, Princes William and Harry, and other personal reflections about her life.

Diana was just 36 when she died in a car crash in Paris 20 years ago this month. She and Prince Charles married in 1981 and had two sons together, William, now 35, and Harry, now 32.

“We met 13 times and we got married,” Diana says on the tapes, as heard in a trailer for the documentary.

Serge Lemoine/Getty Images
Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales pose together during their honeymoon in Balmoral, Scotland, August 19, 1981.

Charles, now 68, went onto marry Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005. Charles’s relationship with Camilla was reportedly a strain on Diana and Charles’s marriage.

“I was brought up in sense that when you got engaged to someone you loved them,” Diana, who was 20 when she married Charles, says in an excerpt shown in the documentary’s trailer.

Diana’s brother, Lord Charles Spencer, claimed the personal tapes belonged to the family in a lengthy legal battle waged to prevent the tapes’ public release. The tapes were ultimately returned to Diana’s voice coach, who was deemed the rightful copyright owner by the court.

Settelen sold the tapes in the U.S. in 2004 but they were never shown in the U.K. due to objections on privacy grounds.

An attorney for Settelen defended the public release of the tapes.

“The fact is that after Diana’s death, the claim to privacy actually failed,” Marcus Rutherford told the BBC on Monday. “Because the police looked at them, the Spencer family looked at them, presumably, so what was private to Diana was actually lost in the process.”

Channel 4 called the tapes “an important historical source” in a statement to ABC News defending their decision to release the tapes now.

“The excerpts from the tapes recorded with Peter Settelen have never been…

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