Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Growing fury over Diana tapes

Channel 4 has been accused of paying “blood money” for “deeply personal” tapes of Princess Diana.

THE PEOPLE’S PRINCESS: Princess Diana with children at a Red Cross feeding scheme in Zimbabwe in July 1993.

The queen’s former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, said Diana had no idea the tapes would ever be made public, and that the content would be incredibly hurtful for her family.

His searing criticism came after it emerged that Diana’s brother, Charles, the Earl Spencer, had tried to stop the Channel 4 documentary, which will be aired this Sunday, from going ahead.

The footage, filmed by Diana’s former voice coach Peter Settelen, was purchased by Channel 4 after the BBC decided to shelve a documentary about the same videos.

Although they have appeared in the US, next week will be the first time the controversial footage will be viewed by a British audience. Arbiter on Sunday blasted Settelen for selling the tapes.

“It is absolutely shameful these tapes have been made available. It seems that there is sort of grubby blood money running around,” he told Sky News.

“Whether these tapes are revealing or not they were recorded in private on the understanding they would remain private and Settelen should have thought before giving them to Channel 4.

“Channel 4 should really think deeply, not about their ratings figures but about the people and family who are still around who will find this very hurtful.”

Royal biographer Penny Junor also accused Channel 4 and Settelen, a former Coronation Street actor, of “prurient money making”. “Diana had no idea they would ever be broadcast,” she said.

“They are deeply personal, they will be extremely humiliating to the Prince of Wales, hurtful to William and Harry and Diana’s sisters and brother. I simply cannot understand the justification. It’s purely prurient money making.”

Channel 4 has defended its decision to show the tapes, calling them an “important historical source”.

In the videos, Diana talks candidly about topics including Prince Charles’s affair and the queen allegedly saying her son was “hopeless”. She also claims that at first Charles was “all over me like a bad rash”, with the couple having sex “once every three weeks”, but ultimately their intimacy “fizzled out”.

The princess said that when she asked the queen for advice about Charles, she replied: “I don’t know what you should do. Charles is hopeless.”

Spencer unsuccessfully tried to stop the documentary, according to the Mail on Sunday, and Channel 4 confirmed it had exchanged correspondence with him. Rosa Monckton, one of Diana’s closest friends, told the newspaper: “Think of the hurt they are causing to her family It is absolutely disgusting.”

Settelen, 65, holds the copyright to the tapes, which were returned to him following a bitter legal row with the Spencers. They featured in a documentary made by NBC in 2004 but until now have not been shown on UK television.

Channel 4 said: “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.” IOL