As the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death draws closer, attention is being increasingly drawn to the life she lived. New documentaries about her life have also been put together to be released soon.
One of such documentaries is Diana: In Her Own Words which will be broadcast by Channel 4. The documentary will be broadcast next Sunday and will show how Diana turned to her royal in-laws for help when her marriage began experiencing crisis but she was left disappointed. She said she specifically pleaded with Queen Elizabeth but the monarch told her that “Charles is hopeless”.
In the explosive footage filmed with the Princess’s voice coach Peter Settelen, she claims her father in-law Prince Philip advised her husband Prince Charles to give his marriage to her five years and then go back to his mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, if it didn’t work out.
Diana reveals how she challenged Charles about his relationship with Camilla, saying: “I remember saying to my husband, ‘Why? Why have you got this lady around?’ And he said, ‘Well, I refuse to be the Prince of Wales who never had a mistress’.”
She later tells her in-laws that her treatment had caused her to suffer an eating disorder, saying: “I didn’t think I was good enough for this family so I took it out on myself – I chose to hurt myself instead of hurting any of you.”
The tape obtained by Channel 4 was filmed between the end of 1992 and mid-1993, at the peak of the so-called War of the Waleses.
Diana claims she turned to the Queen for help, saying: “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, Charles is hopeless’. And that was it, that was help.”
She adds: “My father-in-law said to my husband, ‘If your marriage doesn’t work out, you can always go back to her after five years’, which is exactly, I mean, for real I know that had happened after five years.
“I knew something was happening before that but the fifth year I had confirmation.”
The documentary also includes revelation of how Diana’s relationship with Charles deteriorated so badly after Harry was born that they rarely had sex. She says they were intimate “sort of once every three weeks and then it fizzled out about seven years ago, six years ago”.
She reveals how alarm bells started ringing when she and Charles gave a TV interview at Buckingham Palace shortly after they were engaged and Charles appeared unable to declare his love for her.
Diana says: “I was brought up in the sense that, you know, when you got engaged to someone, you loved them. The most extraordinary thing is we had this ghastly interview the day we announced our engagement and this ridiculous ITN man said, ‘Are you in love?’ What a thick question. So I said, ‘Yes, of course, we are’, in the sort of fat Sloane Ranger that I was, and Charles turned round and said, ‘Whatever love means’, and that threw me completely. I thought ‘What a strange answer’. God. It traumatised me.”
Describing herself as “neurotic” she says she became bulimic as a direct result of her husband’s infidelity.
“Everybody knew about the bulimia in the family and they all blamed the failure of the marriage on the bulimia and that’s taken some time to get them to think differently. I said, ‘I was rejected, I didn’t think I was good enough for this family so I took it out on myself’. I said, ‘I could have gone to alcohol which would have been obvious, I could have been anorexic which would have been even more obvious. I decided to do a more discreet thing which ultimately wasn’t discreet but I chose to hurt myself instead of hurting any of you’.”
The documentary also features contributions from her former private secretary Patrick Jephson and former royal bodyguard Ken Wharfe, who are both highly critical of Charles and his aides.
Mr Jephson said: “Going to work for the Prince and the Princess in the late 1980s meant becoming part of an organisation that had as its number one priority keeping quiet about the fact that this was a marriage in name only. The number one propriety was to maintain what turned out to be a lie.”
Jephson claimed Diana “wasn’t really wanted any more” after she separated from Charles in 1992, he added: “She was on the receiving end of a whispering campaign in which every thing from her competence as a princess, to her suitability as a mother and indeed her sanity were being questioned.
“The real damage was done by those who tried to marginalise her. They saw that their man’s path to the crown would be a great deal easier were he not competing for popularity with his ex-wife.”
Mr Wharfe added: “People were saying that she’s mad. But the fact is that here was a case of a woman trying to come to terms with the fact that her husband was in a relationship and having an affair with another woman. It’s as simple as that.”
He recalled how Diana confronted Charles and Camilla when they sneaked away to the nursery during a birthday party.
“She calmly said, ‘Look, I know what’s going on, so don’t treat me like an idiot’.”
He said that was when it dawned on Princess Diana that nothing she did could save her marriage. It was the beginning of the end for them.
Mr Settelen, who filmed the explosive footage, was employed as a voice coach but their sessions in Diana’s sitting room at Kensington Palace turned into mock interviews, with the Princess answering extraordinarily intimate questions on camera. Channel 4 claims the footage was filmed to prepare then 31-year-old Diana for her 1995 Panorama interview with Martin Bashir and was for “public” consumption.
The Royal Family previously tried to ban the tapes from being broadcast after 7 of 12 recordings were found during a 2001 raid on the home of Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell. The whereabouts of the remaining five tapes is unknown. Mr Settelen later won the case and sold five-and-a-half hours of footage to the American network NBC in 2004.