New controversial documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, featuring never-before-seen footage of the late princess, has drawn mixed reviews after it was aired in the United Kingdom overnight.
Channel 4’s decision to include the video tapes in the documentary has been strongly criticised by royal watchers with one of Diana’s closest friends, Rosa Monckton, saying it amounted to a “betrayal of her privacy”.
Channel 4 said using the footage gave Diana a voice and placed it “front and centre” in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of her death in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.
The documentary features Diana speaking candidly and informally about her upbringing, her courtship with the Prince of Wales, her troubled marriage and her public life.
Kensington Palace, the royal household of Diana’s sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, has declined to comment on the documentary.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Jan Moir said she thought Diana would have approved of the tapes being aired and that they show her in a “golden light”.
“Actually, I think that Diana would love these videotaped sessions from 1992 being broadcast. Adore it! For the recordings show her in a golden light; rueful, amused, heartbreakingly vivacious and beautiful, noble in her obvious loneliness,” she wrote.
“Here she is, scalded but brave, brushing up her oratorical skills as she prepares to embark on a new and independent life following her split from Prince Charles. The fabulous nerve of the woman.”
Writing for the Guardian, Mark Lawson said: “The film is also manipulative, scored with a gloomy flute constantly telling the audience how moved to be. The editing is slick, but also often sly.”
He said that “despite its faults and opportunism”, the programme has as much right to be shown as Diana’s BBC interview with Martin Bashir or her sons’ recently aired ITV documentary.
Andrew Billen gave the programme two stars out of five in The Times, and wrote in his review: “Diana: In Her Own Words was pretentious and trashy.
“But within it wronged Diana, in her sweetness and confusion, lived again.
“If you could forgive the attendant ickiness, that apparition was worth gazing upon.” PA