10 months ago

“Anywhere I see suffering, that is where I want to be, doing what I can.” – Princess Diana

Hear Princess Diana Tell Her Own Story in NatGeo’s Illuminating New Documentary

In 1991, Princess Diana recorded interviews about her life. This is her side of the story.

Since this week, the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana‘s death (Aug. 31), a lot of documentaries are being broadcasted about her life. But one in particular, that was shown on Channel 4 (UK) and National Geographic (Europe) from award-winning filmmaker Tom Jennings struck me immediately — National Geographic’s Diana: In Her Own Words  —

Diana: In Her Own Words features archival footage of the late royal with her ex-husband, Prince Charles, and her two boys, Princes Harry and William, in various stages of childhood. The mesmerising visual imagery will be overlaid with Diana’s voice, played directly from the transcriptions. See two excerpts below. I highly recommend watching the full film. The intensity of hearing her real voice with the thousand images from that time combined, will send shivers up your spine and stay with you for while. At the end you really ask yourself.. how far in modern society (20 years ago) did we push her? – want fame in our daily lives (sells tabloids)?, and what this hunted life does to a human being. Because we, or British society, didn’t learn anything from it. Yes, her ‘openness’ and her ‘humanitarian’ element is strongly present with her two sons but the paparazzi is stronger then ever. And as one of the most photographed women in history, she was constantly followed by the paparazzi. This media obsession played a part in her untimely death.

Hear Princess Diana’s 1991 secret recordings in National Geographic documentary

She discusses a variety of topics, including how she and Prince Charles met, his relationship with now-wife Camilla Parker Bowles, her personal battle with bulimia and her occasional thoughts of suicide. Of course, she describes at length how the pressure of suddenly becoming a royal was almost unbearable. Diana is very candid on her courtship with Prince Charles, saying at the beginning, he was “all over [her] like a rash.” After the pair were married, Diana describes an isolation from both her own family and her new royal family; this is when she developed bulimia. “Everybody knew about the bulimia in the family,” she says in the recordings.

“They all blamed the failure of the marriage on the bulimia, and that’s taken some time to get them to think differently.”

Princess Diana’s brother ‘pleads’ with U.K. broadcaster not to air candid recordings. In one of the more jaw-dropping confessions, Diana says she confronted Bowles about the affair she was having with Prince Charles. “I’m sorry I’m in the way,” she supposedly said to Bowles.

“I’m in the way, and it must be hell for both of you. But I do know what’s going on, don’t treat me like an idiot.”

Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, has reportedly reached out to Britain’s Channel 4 and National Geographic asked them not to air the recordings due to the pain it will cause her sons – Controversial Princess Diana Documentary Is Channel 4’s Highest-Rated Show of 2017 (Variety) 

“The excerpts have never been shown before on television and are an important historical source,” said a spokesperson for Channel 4. “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. This unique portrait of Diana gives her a voice and places it front and centre at a time when the nation will be reflecting on her life and death.” Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris, France, on Aug. 31, 1997. (Source Chris Jancelewicz globalnews.ca)

Princess Diana lived her life in front of the cameras. Now, on the 20th anniversary of her untimely death in 1997, revisit her emotional journey from childhood through her rocky marriage to Prince Charles and subsequent emergence as the “People’s Princess.” This touching tribute relies solely on archival footage and recordings to explore her profound impact on the world and on the future of Britain’s monarchy.

Also recommend Diana, 7 Days – BBC One

In August 1997, the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, stunned her family and catapulted the British public into one of the most extraordinary weeks in modern history.

This programme hears from some of those most affected and those in the public eye at the time, such as Diana’s sons Prince William and Prince Harry, her siblings Earl Spencer and Lady Sarah McCorquodale, former prime minister Tony Blair and members of the royal household.

What was it about Diana that resulted in such an outpouring of grief? And what does that week reveal about Britain’s relationship with the monarchy, then and now?

Watch the full doc. via BBC iplayer / npo.nl / VTR.be (Part 1)  (Part 2) 

DIANA – HER STORY | “I Was A Rebel” | PBS
Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy – Trailer (HBO Documentary FIlms)
The Enduring Fictions of Princess Diana – theatlantic.com
The death of Princess Diana: a week that rocked Britain