A British broadcaster is defending its decision to air shocking recordings of Princess Diana candidly discussing her personal life, after some critics called it a betrayal of the late royal’s privacy.
Princess Diana died on August 31, 1997 at age 36 from a car crash in Paris.
Channel 4 claimed the video tapes, made in the early ‘90s, are an “important historical source.”
The channel also said Monday that the recordings “provide a unique insight into the preparations Diana undertook to gain a public voice and tell her own personal story.”
The recordings of Diana talking to voice coach Peter Settelen include discussion of her failing marriage to Prince Charles and his relationship with mistress Camilla Parker Bowles.
Diana’s ballet teacher Anne Allan, as well as close friend Dr. James Colthurst, both said she was devastated by the affair, which is chronicled in the documentary titled “Diana: In Her Own Words.” Colthurst added the relationship contributed to Diana’s alleged eating disorder.
“You could see her fading physically,” Colthurst told the Sunday Express newspaper. “It was clear to all those who knew her that the bulimia was a reaction to the circumstances she found herself in.”
Diana was so distraught over the affair that she reportedly went to her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, for advice.
“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,’” said Diana. “And that was it. And that was the help.”
Diana even asked Bowles to back off. However, the affair continued.
“I know that she did ask Camilla to leave her husband alone,” said Allan. “I thought that was quite brave of her actually because I know how much that must have taken for her to do that and what do you about it, what can you do about it? All you can do is try to make the marriage work and hope in time that things can change, but that’s not really what happened.”
Diana and Charles would split in 1992, but their divorced wasn’t finalized until 1996.
Diana’s biographer, who penned the 1992 book “Diana: Her Story,” questioned whether Charles ever really loved Diana, who was the mother of his two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
“Diana said to me that when he asked her to marry him… she said, ‘Oh yes, yes I will. I love you so much,’” Morton recently told Fox News. “And Prince Charles, even in the privacy of that moment, said ‘Whatever love means.’ And he gave that famous television interview, ‘whatever love means.’ So you have to ask yourself, did he really have any kind of genuine feeling for Diana or was he, as she felt herself, a sacrificial lamb… producing an heir and a spare and then being discarded?”
Morton added Diana quietly endured the collapsing marriage and constant attempts to fit in with the royal family because she was struggling with an eating disorder, as well as the pressures that came with a high-profile role, where every public engagement was scrutinized by the press. Somehow, he claimed, she continued to hope things would get better with time.
“[Diana] was hoping she would come to terms with this new life and move on,” he said. “But she realized she was living this lie… seemingly the wife of Prince Charles. And yet you got Prince Charles, who was effectively with another man’s wife at Highgrove, their country estate, while she languished alone at Kensington Palace.”
However, not everyone is thrilled with the release of Diana’s recordings.
Rosa Monckton, a friend of the princess, said broadcasting the tape was “a betrayal of her privacy and of the family’s privacy.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.