Earl Spencer, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, has reportedly begged a British television channel not to broadcast a controversial documentary about his sister.
Britain’s Channel 4 plans to broadcast private video tapes that show Princess Diana several years before her death candidly discussing her marital problems and her strained relationship with the royal family.
In the recordings dated from the early 1990s, when the rift between Diana and the royal family became clear to the public, Diana seeks counsel from her public-speaking coach, Peter Settelen, about how to address the public about her relationship with Prince Charles.
“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,'” Diana said.
“And that was it. And that was help.”
It is understood the tapes show Diana going off-script and recalling intimate details of her courtship with Charles.
Several British media sources are reporting that Mr Spencer, Diana’s younger brother, has asked the broadcaster not to air the documentary saying it would hurt her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
“I can safely say losing my mum at the age of 12 and therefore shutting all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” he told a Daily Telegraph podcast.
English journalist and Royal writer Penny Junor agrees arguing that the tapes will just cause further distress.
“I really don’t think we need this very personal, very intimate very private conversation,” Junor said.
“We know a huge amount about her already. She’s been dead 20 years. We have never let her rest in peace.”
Channel 4 defends decision
Channel 4 has continually defended their decision to air the tapes, saying they are an “important historical source”.
But another documentary aired on ITV earlier this month – Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy – was met with praise from critics for its treatment of the subject.
The documentary chronicled Diana’s charitable works, including her historic outreach to AIDS victims and her campaign to ban land mines.
Princes William and Harry were also involved in the production, revealing to filmmakers their final conversation they had with their mother.
“Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know, ‘See you later’… if I’d known now obviously what was going to happen I wouldn’t have been so blase about it and everything else,” Prince William said.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997, which was followed by an outpouring of grief in Britain and beyond.
Diana and Charles married in 1981 and divorced in 1996 after having William and Harry.
The recordings also show Diana talking about falling “deeply in love” with a man widely believed to be her protection officer, Barry Mannakee, as well as Charles’s attempts to woo her during a barbeque in 1979 when she was 18.
Police held some of the videotapes after they were seized in ex-royal butler Paul Burrell’s home in 2001.
Diana’s family tried to make a legal claim to the recordings, but they were returned to Settelen in 2004.
Excerpts of the recordings were aired in the US in 2004 but they have never been screened in Britain.
The Channel 4 documentary Diana: In her Own Words airs August 6 in Britain.