Tina Brown on Princess Diana: “She was grander than the royal family”

It was 20 years ago this month that the world was shocked and saddened by the death of Princess Diana. National Geographic is marking the anniversary with a new documentary “Diana: In Her Own Words,” which features audio from secret interviews Diana recorded in 1991.

National Geographic

“She was grander than the royal family,” journalist, editor and biographer Tina Brown said on “CBS This Morning.” Brown has written the forward to the new book, “Remembering Diana: A Life in Photographs” (National Geographic), and also wrote “The Diana Chronicles.”

Of Diana, Brown said, “In person she so was so much more beautiful than in her photographs. That’s really the funniest thing. Because she had this really long, tall, imposing height, which you don’t really get a feeling of in the pictures. Plus these enormous eyes, which were these big, limpid pools of feeling, and then this apricot skin which was the perfect English rose. So the combination of the dazzling eyes, the peach skin, and the height, it was really very stunning.”

When asked about the use of the previously-unreleased recordings of Diana in the film, which included interviews with her biographer Andrew Morton (who wrote the 1992 book, “Diana: Her True Story”), Brown said, “I think the Morton tapes as you hear in the National Geographic [special] are absolutely fair to release, because after all she wanted those published. They did form the basis of the book that was then published by Andrew Morton. But it was really Diana’s own story that she gave him.”

Causing more controversy are private recordings from Diana’s speech coach. “They were, like, therapy tapes she was doing in private. I think those should have been released to her family. I think to simply put on air for anyone to hear her darkest, deepest, saddest moments which were really told in confidence to her coach and who was really her therapist as well, I think that’s really very cruel to the family.”

CBS News

Brown says she would have preferred any release of the private tapes to be delayed.  “I think it’s still too raw for that to be seen,” she said.

And why does she think they were released?  “Well, for the reason that everything is released, which is the money.”

Brown said that it was very hard for Diana to find happiness beyond her two sons and her social activism. “She…

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