A new documentary featuring footage of Princess Diana speaking candidly on a range of subjects is to be broadcast by Channel 4 in August.
Airing shortly before the 20th anniversary of her death, the film Diana: In Her Own Words will air excerpts from video tapes recorded by Diana’s speech coach Peter Settelen, who she hired to help her prepare to publicly present her own account of events and reinvent her public persona. Some of this footage is being broadcast for the first time ever and none of it has been seen on British television before.
The footage Settelen captured at Diana’s private residence in Kensington Palace in 1992 and 1993 is the only known unmediated video which Diana ever recorded, according to the broadcaster.
It shows Diana rehearsing her speaking voice and also reflecting on her own biography and offering insight into her upbringing, her courtship with the Prince of Wales, her marriage and her public life.
The new documentary is part of a slew of programmes marking 20 years since her untimely death following a high-speed car chase in Paris.
Channel 4 said of Diana: In Her Own Words: “With Diana at her most candid, informal, natural and charismatic the videos provide valuable new insight into one of the world’s most iconic women of the late 20th century and shed new light on her transformation into an enormously influential public figure who frequently dominated the world stage.”
Channel 4’s Deputy Chief Creative Officer and Head of Factual Ralph Lee added: “The tapes, which show a relaxed and off-duty Diana, are hugely illuminating about her personality, humour and charm. Combined with historical context and interviews with her closest confidants, this film provides a nuanced, multi-layered portrait of the most famous woman in the world and a mother who has shaped the future line of the royal family.
“This film gives Diana a voice and places it front and centre at a time when the nation will be reflecting on her life and death. It is her account of events both private and public and is an important contribution to the historical record.”
The documentary shows footage from Diana’s rehearsals with Settelen in 1993 which she undertook in order to help hone her public voice – preparation which had begun with her making recordings for Andrew Morton’s book in 1991 and culminating in her infamous Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in 1995.
The film will also feature in-depth interviews with Diana’s personal protection officer Ken Wharfe and private secretary Patrick Jephson, as well as others who will be speaking on the record for the first time, including her friend of more than 30 years, Dr James Colthurst, and her ballet teacher Anne Allan.
Diana: In her Own Words will air on Channel 4 in early August