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Princess Diana Documentary Facing Backlash Over Intimate Tapes

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A British TV channel is defending its decision to play intimate tapes Princess Diana recorded in a new documentary that it airs this weekend ahead of the 20th anniversary of her death.

The tapes were made during private sessions with her speech coach and they have never been shown in Britain.

In those tapes, Princess Diana speaks openly about her life and troubled marriage to Prince Charles.

The documentary is called 'Diana: In Her Own Words.' Whether Princess Diana ever wanted to share those words to a wider audience is another matter.

"This is like people stopping for a motorway pile up, to see if there are any dead bodies. It's just horrible," said Royal Biographer Penny Junor.

Junor says Diana would never have revealed such intimate facts about her personal life, her married life, and even her sex life, knowing even her sons might one day hear it.

"They are deeply personal. They will be extremely humiliating to the Prince of Wales, damaging to the royal family, hurtful to William and Harry and Diana's sisters and brother," said Junor.

They were filmed by Diana's speech coach in 1992 to 1993, right around the time Diana separated from Prince Charles.

Even Diana's former Butler Paul Burrell - at one point in possession of the tapes who has himself been criticized for spilling Diana's secrets - called airing the conversations 'seedy.'

"It's almost like raiding her diary. That's wrong. That shouldn't be," said Burrell.

British broadcaster Channel 4 says the tapes, and therefore the program are historically significant.

"To be able to find 3.5 or 4 hours of conversation where she is talking about herself and effectively putting her own version of the story, is an amazing historical document and I think it allows us to create a new portrait of Diana and one which is very illuminating," said Channel 4's Deputy Creative Director Ralph Lee.

Diana's speech coach, in defense of releasing those tapes since Diana's death, said a whole industry of people have been willing to step up and give their opinion about what Diana was feeling or thinking at the time when surely the authority for that was Diana herself.


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