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In Di's Own Voice

Five years before she died, Princess Diana told her unhappy life's story to a biographer on tape. Now for the first time, those tapes have been made public. CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips reports from London for The Early Show.

The words, Diana's version of the sad story of her ill-fated marriage, have been seen before, but there is something about hearing them spoken by a deperately unhappy woman, who sensed her marriage was doomed even as she walked toward the altar.

She says, "As I was walking up the aisle I was looking for her. I spotted Camilla, pale gray, pillbox hat, saw it all to this day, you know, vivid memory. And I thought, well, there we are. That's -that's it. Let's hope that's all over with."

But it wasn't all over with, of course.

In audiotapes broadcast Thursday in a two-part NBC News special, the Princess of Wales described her early knowledge of Prince Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, her battle with bulimia, and several suicide attempts.

"I threw myself down the stairs bearing in mind I was carrying a child," she said, describing one incident. "Queen (Elizabeth) comes out, absolutely horrified, shaking she's so frightened ... and Charles went out riding."

The princess died at age 36 in a 1997 auto accident in Paris.

In the interviews, she described how sad she was in her relationship with Prince Charles.

"My husband made me feel so inadequate in every possible way," she told her biographer Andrew Morton. "Every time I tried to come up for air, he pushed me back down again."

NBC wouldn't say how much it paid author Morton's publisher for the tapes, which served as the basis of the special, "Princess Diana: The Secret Tapes.

In one recording, Diana told of overhearing a phone conversation Charles had with Parker Bowles.

"I once heard him on the telephone in his bath ... and he said, 'Whatever happens, I'll always love you,'" the princess said. "And I told him I'd listened at the door ... we had a filthy row."

She later said her eating disorder "started the week after we got engaged. My husband put his hand on my waistline and said: 'Oh, a bit chubby here, aren't we?' And that triggered off something in me," Diana said.

When Morton's book, "Diana: Her True Story" was published in 1992, it punctured the fairytale fantasy so many royalty fans had cherished. At the time, Diana did not acknowledge being the source of it.

The book angered her family, the royal family, and many friends.

But when Morton published a revised version barely a month after Diana's death, he said the princess was the source of the original version.

There were few, if any, revelations in 1997's "Diana, Her True Story In Her Own Words."

But Morton included a 46-page transcript of words he said were all Diana's except for some in parentheses. He said they substantiated everything he had written previously about her.

In both books, it was clear the specter, even the physical presence of Camilla Parker-Bowles, Charles' longtime sweetheart, would dog the marriage to its destruction.

Diana's secretly-recorded tapes are a catalog of marital misery.The tapes, according to people like Ken Warfe, who were around her at the time, marked the lowest point in Diana's life.

Warfe, Diana's former bodyguard, says, "It's obvious we all knew the marriage itself was actually crumbling from day one. Now 12 years on, Diana was trying desperately to say to people, 'Look.' And these tapes are actually a cry for help."

Morton said he obtained the taped comments from the princess by using a go-between who conducted the interviews but wanted to keep his identity secret.

Within days, however, the book's publisher Michael O'Mara issued a statement saying Dr. James Colthurst, a longtime friend of Princess Diana, had taped her interviews, which total about five hours.

NBC used mostly stock footage of Diana to illustrate its special. But in next week's second part, it will use never-before-seen footage purchased from Diana's former speech coach of her practicing speeches.

NBC has acknowledged that the tapes provide no new revelations, but the network believes it will be illuminating to viewers to hear Diana's own voice.

That voice now comes from beyond the grave. Playing the tapes now is not fair, some think, particularly for the children Diana left behind.

Penny Junor, Prince Charles' biographer says, "It's awful for them and to hear their mother's voice as well - something deeply unhealthy about the whole thing."

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