With all the numerous, allegedly authoritative documentaries on Princess Di’s life and death, it can be difficult to know exactly what to believe. Thankfully, award-winning filmmaker Tom Jennings has produced a documentary that leaves little to hearsay and conjecture, as he’s gone right to the source.
Ladies and gentleman, this is Diana: In Her Own Words.
Diana without a filter
In 1991, Princess Diana let friend Dr James Colthurst record a series of candid chats that would eventually appear in biographer Andrew Morton’s 1992 book, Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words. In these interviews, Diana looks back at her chaotic, other-worldly life with insight and sensitivity. This is the first time the viewing public gets to hear her words out of her own mouth.
President of Original Programming and Production for National Geographic Tim Pastore, who commissioned Jennings to make the piece, said, “His film provides fresh perspective and insight into Diana, Princess of Wales’, side of the story and continues our long tradition of providing our audiences unprecedented access to significant events.”
Diana was, in her time, the most photographed individual on Earth, so it’s easy for us to assume she lived the perfect life. But in reality, her years as "The People’s Princess” were riddled with personal issues. During the doco, Diana talks of her bittersweet wedding ceremony, her postpartum depression, her battles with bulimia and how she managed to eventually beat the all-encompassing anxiety that threatened to undo her.
Jennings revealed, “We broke down the major moments of her life and arranged them chronologically, then illustrated them with media reports and archival images from that time. So throughout the entire film, you’re hearing the internal workings of Princess Diana’s mind at a time when everyone believed she was living a fairy tale. But her marriage and her life actually were falling apart.”
The truth behind iconic images
The doco offers a behind-the-scenes counterpoint to popular assumptions. For example, after the announcement of their engagement, Charles jetted off on a five-week trip to Australia and New Zealand. You might remember the famous footage of Diana, clad in a red coat, her eyes filled with tears.
The media reported Diana was distraught because her husband-to-be was leaving so soon after the engagement, but the reality was far sadder. Diana reveals that prior to Charles’s trip, she overheard him on the telephone to Camilla Parker-Bowles. During the conversation, Charles had proclaimed, “Whatever happens, I’ll always love you.”
Watch Diana: In Her Own words on 24 March at 8:40pm on SBS.